The Argentinian lemon season runs from March through August, and the outlook for the upcoming season is a positive one. Citromax has been producing lemons in Argentina since 1964, and currently cultivates approximately 12,000 acres in the foothills of Tucuman. Bernabé Padilla explains: “This region has a microclimate that is superbly suited to promote the lemon tree to produce superior lemons and abundant yields.”
U.S. market now open to Argentinian lemons
“We start our harvest on the first days of March and usually end around mid-August. So far the production for the new season looks to be around normal volumes, though they will be a bit lower than the 2019 season. We had good weather and little rain during our spring time, which falls in October and November, and so we are expecting to have good quality lemons this season,” Padilla says.
The American market has only recently reopened to the Argentinian lemons, and so there are many opportunities for producers such as Citromax to expand their exports. Padilla shares that the projection for the exports to the U.S. in the upcoming season lies around 12 to 15% of their total exports. He says: “Any new availability within markets is good news for the growers and exporters of any fruit. The U.S. is an interesting market for us and we are working hard to fulfill the quality and supply expectations of our partners.”
Good transition in market offer
So far, the demand for the Argentinian lemons has been good, and Citromax has seen a good that transition between domestic storage California lemons and fresh Argentinian lemons. “Argentina's big opportunity here is to introduce to the US market a lemon with great juice and freshness properties, achieving differentiation with other southern hemisphere growers,” Padilla says.
He adds: “The quality specifications in the market are high too. Retail programs are important, but so are the wholesale market and the food service markets. It is important for us to choose the best partners.”
Europe remains important market
With the American market only having reopened recently, the biggest market for the Argentinian lemons remains in Europe for now. “For Citromax, all European countries are important. Our main destinations are Italy, France, the U.K., the Netherlands, and Spain,” says Padilla.
Though Europe remains an important market for the company, last season was difficult due to the Spanish supplies that flooded the market. Padilla shares: “Last season, Argentina exported lower volumes than ever before to Europe, but the prices were much lower than usual too. This is because of the production of the Spanish Verna, which affected the entire market last year.”
Fruit Logistica 2020
Citromax will have a booth at Fruit Logistica this year. “The exhibition is very important for us. We are able to see all our partners and plan the next season together. It is a great way to start to figure out how the season will be in terms of programs, pricing, and more,” Padilla concludes.
Visit Citromax at Fruit Logistica in Hall 25 Booth C-12.