Jose Antonio Garcia, the director of Ailimpo:

"We must be realistic, there's a risk the lemon bubble bursts"

"Lemon production accounts for more than 65% of the surface and 70% of the citrus production in the Region of Murcia. In the next few years, another 2,000 hectares will come into production. It forms part of the DNA of the people of Murcia and will continue to be a flagship of Murcia,” stated the director of Ailimpo, Jose Antonio Garcia.

“In addition, Spain is the world-leading lemon exporter. Spain exports its lemons to more than 90 countries, and a significant part of what is produced in Almeria, Malaga, and Alicante is exported by Murcian companies. Murcia is also a world leader in the industry to manufacture juice, essential oils, and dehydrated peels from lemons. In addition, we are number one in organic lemons.”

However, the increase in production costs and the fall in prices are taking their toll on this important Murcian sector. “The profitability of the entire value chain at origin is threatened by strong pressure from customers and distribution chains, which is very complicated to manage in an inflationary environment. It is a problem that affects all the agricultural sector.”

"The sector is also concerned about the impact of climate change, the availability of water, the temperature, as well as the competition from countries such as Turkey, South Africa, and Egypt, which are dramatically increasing their lemon production. We at Ailimpo work to address these concerns,” stated Jose Antonio Garcia.

“It's important to work at the macro level so that business decisions can be made at the micro level. That's why we monitor production in Spain and in competing countries, we analyze consumer trends and carry out supply and demand simulations.”

“Spain has planted 5.3 million lemon trees in the last six years. It is an unprecedented rate that will allow us to harvest a potential 1.8 million tons in 2026. However, we are not the only ones enjoying this global lemon boom: Turkey and South Africa, for example, are also experiencing it."

"Lemons are in fashion in Europe, but their growth is marginal in Asia and America. We must be well informed and trust ourselves. Spain is a leader and must act as such. We must maintain our position in Europe with economic, environmental, and social sustainability. We must sell our water footprint, which is an unbeatable example; the capacity to capture 360,000 tons of CO₂ each season that our 16 million lemon trees have, or our social commitment to workers, which is much higher than in other places. That has a value that must be translated into the product's price. That's the challenge. The panorama is complicated and one of the risks is the explosion of a hypothetical bubble. We have to be realistic without scaremongering, only those who get ready will have viability. We must prepare and improve.”



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