The first containers of the Argentinian Terri Citrus lemons brand, called Carmencita, have just been loaded for Europe and the USA. Clients in Spain have already asked them to send lemons earlier, while they face uncertain global markets says Luz Santos Bollea, marketing director of Terri Citrus.
The Santos Bollea family
“We are very satisfied with the quality we see this year. There’s different sizes from small to medium and large, all sizes are preferred by markets. This year all the costs to grow, harvest and pack the fruit as well freight costs have increased. The prices in the market right now is not good. Our containers will arrive one month from now. We foresee that it will be a very tough season with all the higher costs compared to previous years. It is very difficult to find the agrochemicals that we use in preparing and packing the lemons, which became much more expensive. The lemons are cyclical. We will not abandon our clients. We work with long term relationships,” says Santos Bollea.
“The productions of Berna lemons are less this year, so our Spanish clients asked us to send our product earlier. We have a good opportunity there with our Spanish clients. Every year they want our lemons. Europe and the USA’s first containers have been loaded. They will arrive in those markets more or less at the same time. I really don’t know if it will be a good or bad year. We process fruit and it arrives one month later and then it is sold only two to three weeks later. Sometimes when the container arrives the price might change, but we mostly work with programs. Last year prices were really high and at the end of the season it went lower,” explains Santos Bollea.
Terri Citrus, based in Tucuman Argentina, have 900 hectares of land with 750 hectares in full production of mainly lemons. They export more than 100 containers of lemons to over 15 countries. The main exports are to the USA, Netherlands, Italy, Spain and UK. Hong Kong, Indonesia, Dubai, Canada, Greece and France are secondary markets. In 2021 Terri Citrus was placed first on the two rankings done by the quality seal All Lemon in Argentina, for the quality of their lemons exported to the USA and the rest of the world.
Russia and Ukraine were markets where they had clients who paid fixed prices. Terri Citrus now has to find alternative markets to take up these volumes. “It’s very difficult there. That gap will go to another country. Maybe to Asia or perhaps Europe because it has no lemons right now. Turkey has ended and Spain is asking for more lemons. We as producers in Tucuman have good relationships with our colleagues in Spain,” explains Santos Bollea.
“Shipping lines are a new partner right now. Before they were only a supplier, where you ask for a container and pay them for the service. Now they are like a strategic partner. It’s difficult to find containers, I hope this situation soon goes back to normality. The cost of a box increased by 30-40%, this is terrible. This must be solved quickly,” cautions Santos Bollea.
She says her mother Carmencita Bollea – who was nicknamed ‘Terri’, which means ‘fertile land’ – was the child of the founder of grower and exporting giant San Miguel. Terri Citrus and the Carmencita brand are aptly named after her mother who passed away 5 years ago following a battle with cancer. The company grew from 97 hectares of lemons, sold in the domestic market, to a leading Argentinian exporter.