Argentina exported around 242,000 tons of fresh lemon in 2020, a slight increase compared to 2019, although far from what was initially projected. According to Francisco Rotella, Citrusvil Fresh Fruit’s commercial manager, the season went through several stages, many of which were heavily affected by Covid-19.
The pandemic prompted consumers to turn to citrus fruits, including lemons for its high content of Vitamin C and its capacity to strengthen the immune system. The measures adopted to prevent the spread of the virus seriously impacted the crucial food service channel, especially in Europe and the United States. Moreover, Argentina decided to suspend lemon exports to Europe on July 1, 2020. This erratic scenario was reflected in the great price fluctuations, especially in Europe.
“At Citrusvil, we achieved exports of close to 27,000 tons. The 5,000 tons shipped to the United States market complied with the estimates made at the beginning of the campaign,” said Rotella. “This market is a destination on which Citrusvil will continue to focus in the coming seasons.”
Looking ahead to the next campaign, the company’s goal is to consolidate not only in traditional markets but also in so-called emerging markets, such as India and China, where Citrusvil is already working on commercial development. It will also seek to continue increasing its participation in other markets such as the Middle and Far East.
Positive balance of the pandemic
COVID-19 forced the Citrusvil organisation to adopt new protocols in its production processes in order to continue operating and guarantee the supply chain. To minimise the impacts, training of operational personnel was essential to ensure total adherence to prevention measures and protocols and the continuity of activity. This was achieved with a strong message to staff about the need to get the industry moving.
"This crisis has certainly generated a positive change in the culture of our company, where we have managed to adapt to the context, incorporating new health and safety protocols that have meant a great contribution to the industry in terms of food safety,” said Rotella. “All this will allow us to plan for the future and be prepared to overcome new risk situations as a reliable and sustainable supplier.