According to estimates, Argentina will harvest between 1.8 and 2 million tons of lemons this season and, even though only 25% of this volume will be marketed fresh, the serious complications in obtaining freight and the increase in the costs of all inputs are complicating the access of Argentine fruit to international markets.
“Last year, freight cost $2,000. Now its value has more than tripled and stands at $7,000. In addition, it's hard to get space on the ships," stated Jose Carbonell, director of Federcitrus. "That affects all export activities. For example, we currently can't export anything to China because these shipments require cold storage, which increases costs and reduces our competitiveness," he added.
“Producers will have problems renewing the citrus groves because the prices of fertilizers and weed control supplies more than doubled. We also have to face higher administrative expenses, a high tax burden, and difficulties with the collection of tax refunds when exporting," Carbonell added.
Due to the combination of these factors, producers will use less technology which will condition the production of citrus in the NOA and other activities such as sugarcane cultivation for the next season, he said.
“Personally, I am confident that the Russian market will be buoyant in July, but we'll probably export less than last year. The European Union is our main destination and although it pays lower prices we hope it will normalize in the short term. In Spain, production fell by 300,000 tons and that is why I believe that sales can improve," he said.