Lemons from Anyue in Sichuan, China started to be harvested in October. The weather was ideal and it is now the golden harvesting period. China Sichuan BonThai Lemon Co., Ltd. is mainly engaged in the cultivation, processing, storage and export trade of Anyue lemons. According to Mr. Liao Chengjun, the general manager of the company, the good weather this year is conducive to lemon production and quality. The new production season has increased production by 20%-30%, and the commercial fruit rate has increased by 20%, but the price is not as good as expected.
It is understood that the current export price of high-quality lemon fruits is about US$0.7/kg, down 20 to 30% from the previous price of US$0.9-1/kg. As for the reasons, Liao said: "In addition to the increase in output that affects prices, inflation and the decline in purchasing power in the export market are also important reasons. In addition, in the international market, lemons produced in Turkey and Egypt are currently in season, and the market competition is fierce but demand is weak, causing prices to fall."
Due to the pandemic at the end of last year, the market demand for lemons surged in a short period, attracting the public to store the products. Its subsequent impact still exists: "At that time, the price was high and the sales were hot for only about ten days, and then it gradually declined. Many people entered the market when the price was high but had difficulty with sales later, resulting in the market still rising in August, September and even October this year. The inventory of lemons in the first season has a great impact on the price and sales of lemons in the new season. The asking prices in the new season are 18% lower than in the past, and some growers are reluctant to sell because of last year's high prices."
Lemons are a pillar industry in Anyue, Sichuan. The local government and state-owned assets have earlier intervened to take price stabilization measures. The relevant work has been quite effective so that lemon prices will not be too low. Liao expressed optimism about the market trend: "Chinese lemons have low cost and good quality, and they have an advantage in international competition. The variety is American Eureka, which has a wider audience than its competitors. Turkish and Egyptian lemons will begin to decrease in quantity in February 2024. The Chinese lemon export season can be extended to May before South African lemons go on the market, and this period is the advantageous period for Chinese lemon exports."
Talking about the challenges in the lemon industry, Liao is worried about the prospects of lemon planting: "The cost of lemon planting is high and the selling price is low. The profitability of many orchards is not ideal, and the enthusiasm of farmers for planting and management has declined. The overall situation in cultivation is in urgent need of improvement."
"Because the current export demand is not high, the company is currently focusing on the purchase, processing and storage of lemons, and will sell large quantities next year." Sichuan BonThai Lemon Co., Ltd has more than 600 hectares of high-standard lemon orchards and packaging plants in Nanchong, Sichuan, where it grows Eureka lemons. The export markets include Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Russia.