Citrus limon (L.) Burm. F.
Harvest: November - July
Spain is a world leader in lemons and this year, too, lives up to its reputation as a provider of quality product. Spain ranks second in the global arena in lemon processing. About 25% of the total harvest is directed to processing into an array of products including juices, essential oil and dehydrated peel.
The lemon crop forecast for the 2020/21 season indicates a total crop size of 1.17 million MT of fruit. This includes 859,103 MT of Fino lemons and 311,164 MT of Verna lemons. The Fino lemon season continued on track and developed well into the initial four months of 2021. There was a healthy figure of fruit available on the trees. However, the commercial crop was significantly curtailed and this created pressure on the fresh fruit market. The Verna volumes look heartening with 2021 matching the last season’s figures. The crop is healthy and promises a steady supply during the summer months. Aggressive marketing will commence from May and Spain is all set to further reinforce its position as a key supplier to Europe.
There have been recent reports of Spanish lemon growers being unable to sell their production, citing several factors including reduced demand because of COVID, particularly from the food service sector, competition from imported fresh lemons, an excess of lemons available for processing and market prices being below production costs. Prices at origin for Fino lemons were quoted at 0.15 to 0.18 €/kg, with production costs of 0.20 €/kg. There are calls for the Spanish government and the EU to restrict fresh citrus imports to protect the Spanish citrus industry. However, AILIMPO (Lemon and Grapefruit Inter professional Association) argues that lemon production costs are between 0.12 to 0.18 €/kg and that overall income for the lemon grower will be positive. It points out that fresh lemon sales to the retail sector, which requires first quality fruits, have increased during the pandemic. However, in the food service sector, where second-quality fruit is often sold, demand for fresh lemons has been almost zero due to the restrictions on bars, restaurants and sales related to tourism in general. As a result, there is no market for second-quality fresh fruit, so the alternative is to send it for processing. Moreover, Spain’s lemon crop is 10 to 15% larger than last season and overall quality issues due to various negative climatic events including cold weather and wind have resulted in more fruit eligible for processing. In September when the season started, processing plants were paying higher prices due to the lack of fruit from the previous season. From December onwards, prices went down as a result of the large volumes to be processed. Moreover, processing plants still face serious problems to compete in the global market, where it is forced to lower prices in order to do business. Once the food service sector returns to normal and consumption in the retail sector consolidates then fresh lemon could reach record levels.
Market price: EURO 14.00 - 18.00 /kilo