There's still stability in the European lemon market. The Spanish campaign started with a later harvest than usual and with lower harvest volumes than in the previous season, and this, according to the director of the Lemon and Grapefruit Interprofessional Association (Ailimpo), José Antonio García, " is contributing to bring balance between the supply and demand and a relatively orderly situation in the marketing,” despite the fact that exports have fallen.
Prices remain stable, ranging between €0.35 and €0.40 per kilo at origin, which is slightly more than in previous campaigns. However, the volumes of Fino lemons exported since the start of the campaign are between 7 and 8% lower than those of the 2021-22 season and stand below the average for the last 4 years, which entails that part of the initial production losses have led to lower harvest and exports.
"As is usually the case, the demand in January has been sluggish, following the Christmas excesses. However, we are confident that consumption will start to pick up again in February. There is some pressure from a number of supermarket chains to launch promotions as a strategy to increase sales," said José Antonio García. "Honestly, I don't think that these so-called promotions make sense, considering that the lower supply available this season is keeping the supply and demand in balance.
According to the director of Ailimpo, "Turkish competition has been very low until Christmas due to the sharp decline in its Interdonato production as a result of the impact of frosts. However, since the beginning of January, its exports have been reactivated with the Lamas variety, with good volumes that are putting greater pressure on Eastern European markets.
The Spanish lemon production has been marked by a shortage of large sizes this year; a trend observed in the entire citrus family. Lemon, along with grapefruit, is the citrus fruit that has proportionally seen the most growth in the acreage in 2022 compared to the previous year. "This growth is now beginning to slow down, since it is not advisable for such a trend to be maintained, taking into account that with the available area there is already a significant production potential, and there is also uncertainty as regards the availability of water in the coming years," said José Antonio García.
In spring, the Verna lemon harvest will begin with the prospect of reaching a similar volume to last season's. "We are reviewing the production estimate, which we expect to update and publish at the end of January. The production decline could be a little sharper than previously announced."