As the domestic lemon supply is limited, operators currently seem to prefer the imported produce.
"It is not a good moment for Italian lemons, mainly due to two reasons: on the one hand, a lot of produce is coming in from Greece, Turkey and Argentina at very low prices (-55%) while, on the other hand, our produce has been dealing with the abnormal weather characterized by frequent abundant rain over the past few months, affecting the shelf-life of the lemons grown in open-fields," reports a producer from Rocca Imperiale (Cosenza), one of the various areas in southern Italy specializing in lemon production.
"The abundant rain and high humidity level often contributed to the appearance of defects on the produce sent to supermarkets, thus favoring foreign imports. It is impossible for us Italian producers to apply the same prices as our foreign competitors, as they would not cover production costs."
Rocca Imperiale lemons
The volumes coming in from Greece, Turkey and Argentina have been available for the past four weeks. "Unfortunately we have reached the final phase of the Italian lemon season, while theirs has just started, so their fruits are fresher and of a higher quality. Domestic lemons are definitely not the first choice at the moment."