The Argentinian minister of agriculture, Luis Basterra, confirmed that Argentina will export lemons to China for the first time since China opened its lemon market in December 2019. The lemons have been produced in Tucuman province. 24 tons of fresh lemons will leave Buenos Aires on the 30th of June and make their way to Hong Kong.
Argentina is the second-largest lemon exporter in the world. Only Spain exports more lemons. Argentine exports about 17% of the overall production volume. Almost 75% of the lemons end up in processed products. The remaining 8% is absorbed by the domestic market. The lemons that are exported are kept at 2-3 degrees Celsius to prevent fruit flies from traveling with the lemons. That was one of the key requirements before China granted Argentina permission for lemon export to the Chinese market.
According to Fernando Carreras, a representative for the export company Citromax, emphasized that the lemon market is struggling because of the Covid-19 pandemic. "The most important quarantine measure is related to the temperature at which the lemons are kept. The temperature has to be low to avoid fruit flies hatching, even though our lemons do not host fruit flies, but that is one requirement for the Chinese market. Only if we keep the lemons at the required temperature are we allowed to export them to China." Carreras also stated that they dispatch one shipping container full of lemons every week. The product quality only improves as the season progresses."
Carreras also explained that Hong Kong has received lemons from Tucuman before, but this is the first time the lemons are distributed on the Chinese market. According to Carreras, China will become an important trade partner for Argentinian lemon exporters in 2021.
Source: Fruit Critic [Guo Pingjia]