NOA's lemon sector is facing a great crisis because fertilizer prices have increased by more than 100% and because of the high costs of international freight, which increased since the pandemic, stated Pablo Padilla, president of the Citrus Association of Northwest Argentina (ACNOA).
"The sector has also been affected by the devaluation of the euro and the more than 70% increase in labor force salaries. In addition, lemon production grew globally which led to a decrease in international prices."
The prices paid by the processing industries are below the production costs for citrus growers. As a result, producers are not harvesting the product. "We estimate that producers won't harvest nearly 200,000 tons, i.e. 10% to 15% of the total," Padilla stated.
The association is looking to develop products based on lemon, such as citric acid, which is used in the manufacture of beverages and which until now is imported. "We are noticing that some producers are leaving the activity. We estimate that 3,000 to 5,000 hectares in Tucuman will stop growing citrus and start sugar-alcohol production."
It should be noted that NOA concentrates 95.6% of the total production of lemons. Tucuman produces 87.5%, Salta 5.7%, and Jujuy 2.4%.