The first shipment of Chilean lemons arrived in China on June 29, after the opening of that market to Chilean citrus on May 14, 2020. The fruit was imported by Dalian Yidu Group and was sold-out within a few days.
The Chilean fruit is not required to undergo a cold treatment because the Mediterranean fruit fly has not affected the lemon production regions in Chile. This helps the fruit maintain its quality and firmness when reaching its destination while avoiding cold damage and significantly reducing deterioration rates.
In previous years, South Africa and Australia have been the main exporters of lemons to China. However, the fruit of these countries is subject to phytosanitary protocols that include quarantine and cold treatment to eliminate any pest.
This shipment of lemons will also open the door to other Chilean citrus exports. Currently, China has approved citrus imports of Citrus reticulata and its hybrids (clementines and mandarins), grapefruits (Citrus paradisi), oranges (Citrus sinensis) and lemons (Citrus limon), among other citrus fruits.
In 2019, China imported about 328,000 tons of citrus from the southern hemisphere, including oranges (51%), mandarins (36%), grapefruits (12%), and lemons (1%).
Juan Enrique Ortuzar, the president of the Citrus Committee of the Association of Fruit Exporters of Chile (ASOEX), stated: "China is a major importer of citrus. I am sure that Chilean exporters and producers will be able to enter the Chinese market with their high quality, delicious, and healthy citrus, and I know they will be able to meet the expectations of consumers."