Francisco Rotella, commercial director of Cítricos La Paz:

"Operators and large retailers will have to understand each other so that transitions between hemispheres do not cause collateral damage"

The Spanish lemon season is moving forward in an atypical way, with a market performance far from initial expectations, taking into account the lower estimated production of the Primofiori. Clearly, the availability of fruit from the southern hemisphere, combined with a somewhat retracted consumption, are making the season more difficult.

"The delay in the arrival of lemons from the southern hemisphere to Europe has caused the start of the Spanish season to be delayed by up to six weeks," says Francisco Rotella, commercial director of Cítricos La Paz.

So, although the Primafiori lemon harvest is lower this year, for the time being prices are still under a lot of pressure from large distribution chains, while sales in wholesale markets not showing any signs of recovery.

Francisco Rotella

"There is lack of movement or enthusiasm in the case of lemons, something that is reflected in the current price levels. While it is true that consumption in November is traditionally unstable, we highly expect the month of December, with Christmas and New Year's holidays around the corner, to bring a recovery of sales and prices. However, we will have to see how much of an impact this new COVID wave will have in Europe, as well as the effect of the region's inflationary context," he points out.

For the commercial director of Cítricos La Paz, situations such as those observed this year, with the overlap between the southern and northern hemisphere campaigns, cannot be blamed on just one link in the chain. At the same time, and with eyes set on the next season, he calls for dialogue and understanding between all links involved to avoid a repeat of what happened this year.

"Both Argentina and South Africa have had to deal with serious logistical problems, so it is not all the supplier's fault. In this sense, we must be objective. For this reason, over the next few months we will have to sit down with overseas suppliers in order to establish loading schedules in an orderly manner. Both operators and large distributors will have to agree on the timings and seek an understanding so that the transitions between hemispheres happen smoothly and do not cause collateral damage."

According to Francisco Rotella, the logistics problems are far from being solved and planning will be key. "The postponement of Fruit Logistica to April is going to cause some setbacks for us when it comes to planning the overseas season, as February has always been the best time for operators in the southern and northern hemisphere to start talking and outlining sourcing strategies. Often, Argentinian exporters would take advantage of the trip to Berlin to travel later to Spain and see first-hand how the season there was going in terms of volumes, quality and sizes...with the aim of outlining their export campaign. Unfortunately, for the lemon business, holding the Berlin fair in April could be untimely."

Cítricos La Paz markets approximately 90,000 tons of lemon and 8,000 tons of grapefruit annually. Last season it marketed about 12,000 tons of organic lemon and they expect to continue growing this year. "The organic lemon market is developing more clearly in Europe. In this kind of products is where the greatest differential value lies," says Francisco Rotella.

For more information:
Francisco Rotella
Cítricos La Paz
C/ Venus 1,
Poligono Industrial de Fortuna 
30620 Fortuna
T. +34 968 43 21 59 

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