Lemon oil from all corners of the world is one of Ultra’s core products and is obtained by cold expression or steam distillation of lemon peel.
Lemon has a place in many culinary uses from soft drinks and cocktails to marmalade. However, it can also be used and found in household cleaning products since it can disinfect, deodorise, remove grease and dissolve wax and grime to name but a few uses.
Lemon is also used in aromatherapy to enhance moods and can be used for its anti-bacterial properties in other medicinal applications. In fragrances it gives a fresh uplifting and zesty note to any perfume as it is highly volatile.
Interestingly the three top producers of fresh lemons in the world are not the countries we would associate with oil production; the top 3 being China, India and Mexico, which account for over 40% of the world production.
Today we associate lemon oil production with Italy and Spain (Europe), Argentina and USA (Americas) and even South Africa.
Over the past 40 years Argentina's processed lemon volumes have increased significantly decade on decade, from an average annual volume of 80,000 MT in the 1970s, to 200,000 MT in the 1980s, to 540,000 MT in the 1990s and 900,000 MT since 2000. This is why today its contribution is very important to our markets.
Argentina's 2014 crop disaster put huge pressure on the global market, something we are still recovering from. Argentina contributes around 10% of the global fresh lemon fruit market. When you think that over the past 5 years Argentina has processed an average of 860,000 MT of fresh lemons then any crop 'disaster' will have a major impact on the global market.
Argentina, like some of its other citrus counterparts, is reeling under erratic weather patterns and climate change and this has affected the lemon trees. Furthermore, there is increased channelling of supply into the fresh fruit market, which actually brings good returns in the USA market. This is because the crop from coastal California has gone down and Argentine lemon exports to USA fetch good prices. Mexico, Brazil, Vietnam and Indonesia are the new entrants to the Argentine lemon export market and are expected to offer substantial orders.
The season began well with ideal weather and rising hopes. The current 2019 crop was expected to be higher than last year. However, April brought prolonged showers, in fact copious rainfall for 50 days thereby impeding harvesting. The extensive delay in harvesting impacted the fruit in terms of colour and size. The quality of fruit did not meet export parameters and was thus rejected. This substandard fruit was channelled into the processing industry; distilleries were unable to cope with such large volumes in the time available. Much of the fruit was discarded. Argentine farmers continue to harvest and distill their crop but have overshot timelines. Spain, Turkey and some of the newer players have completed big harvests so now the markets are depressed. Lemon essential oil has seen some spot sales but now slowly the markets seem to be rallying with some requests for bulk orders.
USDA HISTORICAL AND FORECAST FOR LEMON OIL PRODUCTION IN ARGENTINA
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