Argentina’s lemon exports to the United States have officially begun, with the first shipments expected to arrive in around 30 days. A spokesperson for the Argentine Northwest Citizens Association (ACNOA), which brings together the region’s fruit producers, packaging plants and industries, said, "Given that this is our first campaign exporting to the US after many years, export volumes will be moderate as it takes time and effort to develop commercial programmes.”
The requirements of the US market are stringent and require a lengthier process than Argentina’s producers are used to. After harvest, the fruit is conditioned in packing plants and the lemon undergoes a degreening process. After this, the lemons are chilled until the order arrives for them to be packed, go through customs procedures and phytosanitary export controls, and finally leave for their destination.
The majority of exports of Argentina’s lemons will enter the US through Philadelphia. Companies such as San Miguel already have several orders from US importers and retailers, and calculate the countries lemon exports to the US will amount to 15,000 tons this year. As Argentina exported 230,000 tons of lemons last year, the US market is very much seen as one for the future rather than the present. Argentina’s main competitors for the US market will be Mexico and Chile, from where the US currently imports 50,000 tons and 41,000 tons respectively.