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Shortage of lemons in New Zealand

Shortage of lemons in New Zealand
Photo: twistedcitrus.co.nz

New Zealand’s retail sector is currently facing low availability of lemons, leading to soaring prices where the fruit is still in fact on sale. Logistical problems related to Covid-19 have slowed down imports and led to shortages across the country. January tends to see low domestic production, with most of New Zealand’s lemons coming from the US at this time of the year.

 

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Citrusvil seeks to consolidate traditional and emerging markets

Citrusvil seeks to consolidate traditional and emerging markets
© Citrusvil 
PRESS RELEASE

 

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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AILIMPO: first estimate for Spain’s 2020/2021 lemon

AILIMPO: first estimate for Spain’s 2020/2021 lemon

AILIMPO´s first estimate for Spain’s 2020/2021 lemon harvest is of 1,250,000 tons, representing an overall increase of 10% compared to 2019/2020. Whether this first crop estimate is realised will depend on the availability of water in summer and autumn rains. The estimated global lemon production figure will allow Spain to remain the leading exporter of fresh lemon, and the second largest processor of lemon juice, essential oil and dehydrated peel in the world.

In the case of the Fino lemon variety, an increase of 10% is estimated. AILIMPO has considered the effect of the progressive entry into production of new plantations made in recent years and the situation of the size of lemons at the present time, which is considered optimal thanks to the good availability of water, to estimate a production of 845,000 tons.

As far as the Verna lemon harvest is concerned, the first forecast points to a harvest of 300,000 tons, which would mean a reduction of 2% compared to the last season.

AILIMPO expects a good and fair balance of prices and distribution of economic value throughout the chain, which will allow the Spanish lemon sector to give a profitable commercial outlet to the harvest, while maintaining commercial competitiveness against the aggressive supply of lemon from competing third countries such as Turkey (which will continue to be subject to official pesticide controls at the European border) or Egypt.

Furthermore, from the producer’s point of view, the GlobalG.A.P. and GRASP certifications are key elements for the next season, within the interprofessional strategy to differentiate the Spanish Lemon and promoting sustainable production under the triple focus: economic, environmental and social.

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Spanish lemon crop set to grow 10%

Spanish lemon crop set to grow 10%

 

Alimpo has projected a 10% larger Spanish lemon crop for the 2021/21 campaign. The total estimated volume of 1.25 million tons is subject to sufficient summer and autumn rainfall. Production of the Fino variety is predicted to climb 14% to 845,000 tons, with optimal sizes thanks to the good availability of water. The Verna lemon crop is expected to be down 2% to 300,000 tons. Alimpo expects the campaign to be profitable with a good and fair balance of prices and distribution of economic value throughout the chain to allow Spain to remain competitive against the supply of lemon from competing third countries such as Turkey and Egypt. A statement read: “Furthermore, GLOBALG.A.P. and GRASP certifications are key elements for the next season, within our strategy to differentiate Spanish lemons and promote sustainable economic, environmental and social production.”

Spain is the world’s leading exporter of fresh lemons and second biggest exporter of processed lemons. Revenues total about €700m each year.

 

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Reduced EU lemon crop in 2019/20 despite larger growing area

Reduced EU lemon crop in 2019/20 despite larger growing area

The EU 2019/20 lemon crop is forecast to plummet by 16% from last season to 1.4 million tons, according to MAPA data, due to a ravaged season in main producer Spain. Total planted area continues to expand, and has grown 8% since 2011. Spain is the world’s second largest lemon producer, after Argentina, and the number-one exporter for fresh consumption. The main Spanish lemon varieties are Fino (70%) and Verna (30%), with the Fino variety predominantly used for processing. During the first 16 weeks of 2020, the average price for Spanish lemons peaked at €0.98/kg as the smaller supply and higher demand drove up prices. The average lemon price paid to Spanish growers peaked at €0.43/kg.

EU lemon consumption is expected to fall in line with the smaller crop. Per capita lemon consumption stands at 3 kg for the region. According to industry sources, Spain has become the second global producer of processed lemons. The EU is a net importer of lemons, and imported volumes are expected to grow in 2019/20 in response to the smaller EU crop. In 2018/19, the volume of lemon imports dropped by 10% in 2018/19 to 548,348 tons due to the larger crop that season. In value terms, EU lemon imports shrunk by 29% to US$575 million from 2017/18. The main suppliers to the EU are Argentina, South Africa, Turkey, and Brazil.

The EU’s lemon exports were up 25% to 82,102 tons in 2018/19, due to the larger crop. Main export markets are Switzerland, Canada, the US, and Norway. Exports to the US alone (mainly from Spain) rocketed 86% to 7,197 tons, worth $9 million. 

 

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The Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) grants protection for the Summer Prim lemon

The Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) grants protection for the Summer Prim lemon

On the 6th of April, the CPVO decided to grant this community plant variety right through its EU Decision No. 54903, which will expire on the 31st of December, 2050. The intellectual property rights for Summer Prim that have been recently been recognised by this European Agency are valid throughout the European Union.

On the 8th of April, the inclusion of this lemon variety in the Commercial Variety Register was published in the BOE (Official State Gazette). The plant varieties that have passed the technical tests are entered in this Register of the Spanish Plant Varieties Office. After that, they are incorporated into the EU Common Catalogue of varieties of agricultural plant species, so that they can be marketed throughout the EU without restrictions.

The characteristics of the Summer Prim lemon are exceptional. It is a top quality intense yellow colour lemon. It is an extra late ripening variety, which means that the Fino lemon campaign can be prolonged in the commercial calendar to the spring-summer period and by May its juice content reaches 50%. It has a deseasonalization of the Fino lemon with the subsequent commercial advantages.

The Compañía de Variedades Vegetales AIE (CVVP) manages this new protected lemon variety and it grants sublicenses to the farmers on behalf of its member New Lemon Company S.L, which is the exclusive licensee of Summer Prim in Spain.

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Good South African citrus harvest, but challenging logistics

Good South African citrus harvest, but challenging logistics

 

April marks the start of the 2020 citrus season in South Africa, which will no doubt be disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ports are reported to be operating at low levels, but packing of all fresh produce out of the country has so far continued uninterrupted, with farms and packing houses endeavouring to safeguard the working environment of over 120,000 workers.

South Korea is a large importer of South African citrus at this time of year, but as inspectors cannot inspect citrus imports due to quarantine regulations, the prediction is that South Korean customers will extend purchases of Star Ruby from the US. There are similar concerns regarding exports to the EU, which will mean diverting volumes to China.

The season started with lemons and soft citrus, with overall quality reported to be excellent. While a bumper harvest is not forecast, the season is certainly going to be an improvement on last year’s, which ended with around 126.7 million cartons, according to data published by www.vanguardteam.com. This season’s crop is projected to reach 143.3 million cartons due to the favourable growing conditions and many new plantings.

This season’s lemon crop is expected to total around 26.4 million cartons, up from last year’s 22 million cartons. As the trees are relatively young, the output is expected to almost double in the next five years. The Middle East received 64% of South Africa’s lemons, followed by Russia (15%), and Southeast Asia (12%).

As for soft citrus, 93,000 cartons have so far been exported from South Africa, with the main variety being Satsuma. South Africa is expecting to export 22-24 million cartons of soft citrus this season, up from last year’s 18.2 million carton. Dramatic growth is projected in this segment too over the coming years. The country has 11,000 hectares of young and high-yielding Nadorcott, Orri, and Leandri, which have not reached their full potential yet.

Up to week 13, the UK received 44% of South Africa’s soft citrus volume, followed by Russia (30%), and the EU (24%).

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Blocks on exports of Turkey’s lemons amid COVID-19

Blocks on exports of Turkey’s lemons amid COVID-19

The Turkish government has subjected lemons to export control due to the booming domestic demand due to the coronavirus pandemic. The restriction will continue until the end of August. In Turkey, lemons are mainly used for the production of cologne, which is used as an alcohol-based disinfectant in many aspects of life. They are also being consumed to boost immunity, thanks to their high content of Vitamin C. The booming demand has led to a sharp spike in lemon prices since the start of the outbreak.
 

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Global citrus crop shrinks

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The 2019/20 global citrus crop is down for all categories, except grapefruit. Orange production is down 11% to 47.5 million, due to weather-afflicted seasons in Brazil, the EU, Morocco and Egypt, with small increases in China and the US unable to compensate for these losses. The global mandarin crop is down 1% to 31.7 million tons, with drops in all major production regions, especially Turkey (-9%) except China.  The world’s lemon crop is estimated to be down 7% to 7.9 million tons, with Argentina (-11%), the EU (-13%), Turkey (-9%) and the US (16%) all suffering challenging seasons due to weather events. Mexico’s and South Africa’s lemon and lime production are both expected to be up. Lastly, grapefruit was the one citrus category that registered a larger crop in the 2019-20 campaign, with larger harvests in China, South Africa, Turkey and the US more than offsetting the 18% fall in the EU’s crop.

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Argentine lemons to land in China finally

Argentine lemons to land in China finally

 

After protracted negotiations lasting 15 years, Argentine lemons have finally been granted access to the Chinese market. Argentina’s agriculture minister, Luis Basterra, and deputy minister of the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC), Li Guo, signed the phytosanitary protocol in Buenos Aires in 17th December to give the go ahead to exports of the prized Argentine citrus fruit, which is emblematic of the country. Guo highlighted how China wished to continue strengthening the bilateral relationship with Argentina.

Argentina is the world’s fourth biggest producer of fresh lemons and leading processor of lemons. Last year, the South American country exported 250,000 tons of lemons, mainly from the Tucumán region.