Despite the expansion of the coronavirus throughout the country, producers are harvesting the lemons in the Argentine Northwest (NOA) and oranges and mandarins in the Northeast (NEA). Producers have implemented prevention protocols among agricultural workers, which are most exposed to the risk of contagion, to carry out the harvest and assure the supply of citrus fruits.
"The worst issues we've had were the blockages of the traffic that prevented the fruit from being moved and the transfer of the harvesters. This issue was solved with a transport protocol for the harvesters thanks to the union and the government. They decided that only 50% of the seats should be used and that people should wear protection," said Jose Carbonell, the president of Federcitrus. "The factories also implemented protocols," he added.
Carbonell stressed that supply is normal in the domestic market, so prices shouldn't increase in the supermarkets as sales are reaching historical highs.
He also said that they had good expectations for the external market. In fact, he said, the sector will export more than last year. In 2019, total citrus exports did not reach 400,000 tons and according to estimates, the sector will export 100,000 more tons this year.
Lemon is the main citrus fruit for export. In 2019 they shipped 250,000 tons of lemon and they expect exports to increase because the main producing countries had poor harvests and demand has increased.