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Lemon Oil Citrus limon (L.) Burm. F. Harvest: May - July
The outlook for Argentine lemons has deteriorated during the early part of 2017, after new assessments of the late frosts in September and October (2016) show some alarming results. The USDA is projecting decreased output of total lemon fruit to 1.37 MMT, a figure around 10% less than last year and closer to the 2014/15 season.
With both exports of fresh fruit and domestic consumption expected to remain unchanged the difference in supply is likely to come off the available fruit for processing, leading to the number of processed fruit being less than in the past 2 years. Thus 15% less fruit will be available for processing than during the 2015/16 season.
This news has alerted many major buyers of lemon oil and as a result much of the forecast supplies for 2017 have already been committed, leaving some new pressure on the market both in Argentina and in other producing countries like Spain.
More positively it is hoped that on-going improvements to farming practices will help improve yields, this despite no actual expansion in area planted, which remains at 48,000 hectares. The USDA added this to their 2016-year end summary:
“Lemon producers have invested in plant replacement to overcome the effects of frosts, and have only marginally invested in new land. Lemon production competes with sugar cane production and urban expansion in the Province of Tucuman. According to private sources, the Argentine lemon sector is not expected to expand significantly through area expansion but through the incorporation of new genetic material, which would improve yields. “
The net effect of these figures has led to some price pressure with good quality oil now trading on a par with or higher than their European counterparts