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Extreme heat and drought will impact Persian lime supply from Mexico this summer

An association of lime growers and packers is warning about the impacts of drought on Mexican lime production. Yesterday, the Persian Lime Growers and Packers Association (COPELP) released a statement about the extreme heat and drought conditions in all crops in Persian lime-growing regions in Mexico.

This year, Mexico has seen one of the most severe droughts in recent history, particularly affecting the main lime-growing regions. Alfonso Sandoval, business development and merchandiser manager with Limonik Produce and Limones Monica, which is part of COPELP, says the drought's impact is being felt in Veracruz, a region growing some 80 percent of limes in Mexico. It's also being felt in other regions such as Merida, Tabasco, Oaxaca, Sinaloa, and Jalisco.

The drought, as well as higher-than-average temperatures, has been an ongoing issue since May of this year. "Since then, we've been seeing small sizes–250s, 230s, 200s," says Sandoval. "Now the lack of big sizes has been an issue. So, for June, July, and August we will see fewer 110s,150s, and 175s. This month already, we will also see less quality. So while we can have the volume on the small sizes, the quality will be an issue." The quality and size concerns will be especially seen by the end of June and throughout July and August.

Impact on fruit
The impact is significant and includes reduced production in volume which will be lower than in previous years. The issue is also affecting quality and shelf-life reduction in the form of variations in size–the fruit won't be able to gain size and the appearance will be a lighter green color with thin skin and shorter shelf life.

COPELP has recommendations for U.S. customers which include adjusting supply orders–there is a lower availability of 175s and larger and higher availability of 250s, 230s, and 200s. Price fluctuations are also expected.

Looking ahead, there is a bit of a silver lining. "Next week we will have rain in Veracruz," says Sandoval. "However, that will help the crop in September and October. It won't help the crop for the summer months."

Click here for the report from COPELP.

For more information:
Isabel Barradas
Persian Lime Growers and Packers Association
Tel. +52 (232) 373-2341
[email protected]