Argentina: Lemon exports increased by almost 46%

Citrus-growing companies in the province are sending the last shipments of lemons, in accordance with their international trade agreements. However, private firms expect this year's export volume will be higher than in the previous season. "We are finishing evaluating the season, but it is very likely that we are close to 270,000 tons of fresh fruit. It's been a couple of years since we reached that amount," said Walter Ojeda, director of All Lemon and of the multinational San Miguel. More than 90% of that amount consists of produce from Tucuman (including Salta and Jujuy).

According to this provisional number, the export volume will have increased by nearly 46% compared to the nearly 185,000 tons exported in 2015. 

To highlight the result, Ojeda recalled that in 2008 shipments of lemons abroad had amounted to 450,000 tons. In 2014, as a result of a frost in 2013, they only exported 150,000 tons.

All Lemon is the company in charge of certifying the quality of the lemons for export in Argentina. It was created in 2009 by the leading producers, packers and exporters of lemon in the country, especially from Tucuman, which is the leading producer of lemons in the world. The goal of the company is to standardise and homogenise the quality of the lemons shipped to international markets. 

According to data handled by the Tucuman Citrus Association (ATC), Tucuman will have exported (as exports are nearly finished) around 263,000 tons. When compared to the 173,290 tons that the region exported last year, this year's volume represents an increase in exports of more than 50%.

"For several years the price levels remained similar in external markets," said Ojeda.

Protected area
The National Health Service and Food Quality (Senasa) declared the NOA region, composed of Jujuy, Salta, Tucuman, and Catamarca, as an area protected from HLB. The measure was implemented under the National Program for Prevention against the Huanglongbing (Pnphlb) in accordance with Resolution No. 449/2016, published in the Official Gazette. The measure stressed that this region had not presented any positive cases of HLB so far and that its location is isolated from other producing regions where there have been detections, such as Misiones.

"The use of the Plant Transit Document (DTV) for the movement of citrus fruit, concentrated citrus juice, and citrus juice that is not concentrated via freight vehicles that come out of these provinces is mandatory," Senasa stated.

HLB is one of the most destructive diseases of citrus worldwide, and so far it doesn't have a cure. To keep Argentina free from this threat, the Senasa stated that people must meet the provisions of the current legislation:

• No plant material can enter the country without authorisation from Senasa.

• Producers must acquire officially certified plants from nurseries authorized by the body.

• People must not move citrus propagation material or fresh fruit without prior authorisation from Senasa.

In Tucumán, the government banned the entry of fresh citrus fruit that had not been processed, from any production area. According to the local standard, this means that the only fruit that can enter the area must have undergone "a process to eliminate all vegetation that is loose or attached to the fruit, has been disinfected, washed, and brushed."

Other requirements include that the fruit must be packaged in first use containers that have been provided by Senasa and that have not been used in previous operations, among other provincial containment measures.


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