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Strikes compromise start of Argentine lemon campaign

Strikes compromise start of Argentine lemon campaign © Radio ATE FM Argentina

© Radio ATE FM Argentina


The start of Argentina’s lemon season has been hit by a series of strikes in the country’s main production region, Tucuman. Self-organising workers blocked roads in different points of the province and prevented the passage of trucks transporting citrus, according to La Nación. The blockades also take place at the accesses to farms and packing plants.

The protesters reportedly rejected the 40.6% salary increase agreed last March between the Argentine Union of Rural Workers and Stevedores (Uatre) and the Citrus Association of Northwest Argentina (Acnao), within the framework of the labour negotiations. The sector claims that the increase is actually 25%, while the remaining 15% corresponds to an increase that had been reached in 2020.

Víctor Santillán, one of the spokesmen of the self-convened harvesters, said: “We demand that they reopen the bargaining agreements because what they signed is a starvation agreement. They say that 40% is an achievement, but it is 25% with 15% from last year. We earn a wage of 1700 pesos (US$18), which with taxes is 1350 pesos (US$14). It is not enough for anything.” 

The workers are demanding the reopening of the labour unions to set a daily wage of 2,500 pesos (US$27).

Meanwhile, Acnoa and Uatre defended the agreement reached in March and alleged that there were political interests behind the protest. The entities reportedly warned that “minority sectors outside the activity with political interests are carrying out roadblocks and blocking access to farms and production facilities, thus paralysing the functioning and operation of the companies and workers at the beginning of the citrus season”.

The development comes just after the European Union announced that it had revoked a ban on Argentina citrus imports implemented in August due to a high number of citrus black spot interceptions.

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Citrusvil seeks to consolidate traditional and emerging markets

Citrusvil seeks to consolidate traditional and emerging markets
© Citrusvil 


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.

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Global lemon and lime crop up 5% and sets new record

Global lemon and lime crop up 5% and sets new record

The world’s production of lemons and limes in 2018/19 is projected to be up 5% to a  new record of 8.2 million tons, according to USDA data. Increased volumes have been recorded in Mexico, Argentina, the EU and Turkey, which should more than offset the drop in production in the US. Consumption and exports are both expected to set new records.

The world’s largest producer, Mexico, expects its lemon and lime output to rise slightly, to a record 2.6 million tons, thanks to an expansion in production area. Similarly, Argentina’s production is projected to be up 7% to 1.6 million tons, due to favourable weather conditions. Production in the EU is up 10% to 1.6 million tons, due to both favourable weather and increased area. Meanwhile, Turkey’s output is set to rocket 15% to a record 948,000 tons thanks to favourable growing conditions.  South African output is also forecast to climb, in this case by 4% to a record 480,000 tons, on the back of favourable weather and a larger production area. However, US production is expected to drop 4% to 777,000 tons due to the unfavourable weather in California. 

The largest market for lemons and limes is the EU and accounts for over two-thirds of exports.

Source: USDA 

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Argentina to export citrus to India and Vietnam

Argentina to export citrus to India and Vietnam

The Indian and Vietnamese markets have opened to Argentine lemons, although phytosanitary protocols still need to be settled before exports can begin at the end of the 2019 campaign. Argentina is working on lowering the tariffs required by India, which currently stand at 30%. As a result of this tariff, India will not immediately become an important market, but in the long-term, given its enormous population, Argentina spies great prospects on the subcontinent. For now, Indians are not used to consuming yellow lemon, but rather a kind of lime, similar to the Tahiti lime. Therefore, as consumer trends change, the prospects for Argentina’s lemons will improve. Meanwhile, Vietnam has lower tariffs and more established consumption patterns.


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 La Costiera promotes Sorrento lemons


A romatic, juicy and sweet: there are few places in Italy quite as well suited to lemon production as the Sorrento coast, a true delicacy among Italian citrus fruits, widely used in haute cuisine and patisserie. “Our reference market,” explains Fernando Vinaccia, owner and sales director of La Costiera, “looks to large Italian retail organisation son the one hand and is particularly interested in northern Europe on the other. At the momento we are also working on organic lemons, thanks to our ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and Global Gap certifications. It goes without saying, though, that we are talking about a special kind of lemon, with a higher-thanaverage price, and so it is directed at markets that are willing to pay something extra for a quality product.” And La Costiera’s Sorrento lemons certainly aren’t lacking in quality: “The Sorrento lemon,” Vinaccia continues, “is very rich in essential oils, the flesh is especially juicy, and the rind is aromatic and edible; even the leaves can be used in cooking. It is a niche product, for connoisseurs, and that is why it is valued so highly.”

La Costiera was formed in the ’60s in Sorrento as a family business specialising in the production and sale of the Sorrento Lemon. In 1997, business activity was transferred to Fondi, in the Latina province, where La Costiera became the market leader in the production and sale of citrus fruits, especially lemons, offering its customers a guarantee of a genuine, quality product available continuously throughout the year. Most of La Costiera’s groves are found in Piano di Sorrento, Sant’Agnello and other parts of Campania, as well as in Cantabria and Sicily.