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Argentina citrus semi-annual

Fresh lemon production forecast down 11 percent to 1,700 thousand tons in MY 2023/24

For MY 2023/24, fresh lemon production forecast has been updated to decrease by 11 percent to 1,700 thousand metric tons (MT) from USDA official estimates of 1,907 thousand metric tons. This negative trajectory can be attributed to worst climate conditions with higher temperatures than expected and during harvest season there were irregular and severe rains, which have not only impacted the size of the lemons but have also damaged numerous lemon trees. Also, the average fruit size was smaller than originally estimated, reducing total production but producers expect a high-quality level of the fruit.

During MY 2023/24, the lemon harvest started approximately 30 days later than the usual starting week, a delay also attributed to the multifaceted effects of climate change. Despite this delay, the shift turned out to compensate for the negative expectation of production concerning the quality and size of the fruit.

The forecast on fresh lemon production was also revised, to 1,850 MT for the preceding marketing year 2022/23 with an increase of 12 percent from last official USDA official estimates. The adverse effects of the drought were less severe than expected.

Argentinian lemon producers have faced substantial economic challenges due to persistent international overproduction in the fresh citrus market and stagnant demand. This has resulted in prolonged periods of lower prices over the past five to seven years compared to the previous decade. Navigating a market characterized by excess supply has been particularly difficult for local producers.

Despite these challenges, the lemon sector has seen significant investment in new production techniques and technology over the past decade. Notably, 70-75 percent of Argentina's total lemon production is now dedicated to the export of processed lemon products, including essential oils, frozen pulp, and dehydrated peel. These improvements have helped the industry's resilience and adaptability in a highly competitive global market.

Lemons are grown primarily in the northwest provinces of Tucuman, Salta, and Jujuy, with some minor production in northeastern Argentina as shown in Figure 1. Eureka Frost, Lisboa Frost, Limoneira 8 A, and GĂ©nova EEAT are the main lemon varieties grown in Argentina according to Estacion Experimental Agroindustrial Obispo Colombres (EEAOC).

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