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.
The Argentine citrus sector is facing new problems after the delay in the start of the 2023 season due to drought, with the country facing the worst inflation in the world, above 100%, and currency problems. Despite these challenges, producers say they have long-term investments and commitments to keep and will continue to supply world markets. Although the Argentine government declared a state of agricultural emergency for the main lemon-producing province, Tucumán, growers and exporters say they are trying to do everything possible to “endure and survive the hard period” the country is going through. Argentina had some rains in April, but growers say it came too late to improve the size of the early citrus that was ready for harvest. “Currently, small-sized fruits predominate. We are expected to export a smaller volume to the United States. Europe continues to be the largest recipient of Argentine fruit. Market prices should improve. For now, we will only carry out programmes with organic lemons.” The much weaker currency against the dollar and rising inflation of 108.8% year-on-year in April 2023 have more than doubled the prices of most consumer goods. Earlier this week, the Argentine government announced the lifting of import tariffs in order to import more food and make it more affordable for people. Interest rates were also increased to 97%, the highest in the world, to help curb rising inflation, but it will take time to kick in to the system. Experts aren’t sure this aggressive rate hike will work either. The state of agricultural emergency for Tucumán lemons, according to the website of the main Argentine citrus entity, FederCitrus, is intended to alleviate fiscal pressure for one year. The factors that have led to the declaration are said to be due to increased citrus production from Uruguay and South Africa. According to the July USDA lemon forecast, Argentina is expected to produce 1.650 million metric tonnes (MMT), around 7% less than the previous forecast of 1.770 MMT. With fewer lemons this season, lemons allocated for processing will decrease to 1.323 MMT, and exports to 200 MMT.
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