Lemon exports to the EU increase by 23%

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Prices and marketed volumes also provide positive data this season.
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Las exportaciones de limón a la UE se incrementan un 23%

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The Fino lemon season could not have evolved better for Ailimpo members. Just when the middle of the season has been reached, all, price, the quantity sold, and exports (with an increase of 23% more in the EU) show figures that are more than positive.

The director of the Inter-professional Association of Lemon and Grapefruit, located in Murcia, José Antonio García, summarizes this favourable data by explaining the fact that the season will be a couple of weeks early, that demand has increased in the EU and that prices are “profitable” for the farmer, with levels which are “above production costs”.

With regard to the Fino lemon sold from September to December 2013, production figures reach 292.386 tonnes, in relation to 238.346 tonnes obtained during the same period last year (54.040 tonnes).

“In general terms, we can say that this increase has been due to an increase in exports as well as the amount of lemon that has gone to the processing industry for juice, and to the fact that the season is two weeks early”, says Joseph Antonio García. The added fact that Argentina ended its season before us —late July— due to frost and that Spanish lemon took the lead, has made it possible for Spain to begin harvesting in late September.  “And, according to our expectations, we hope that this year there is nothing left to collect”, says the director of Ailimpo.

As for exports, the EU continues to be the main destination. In the first four months, 185.141 tonnes have been sold to EU markets, 23% more than last year. The home market has absorbed 45.600 tonnes and 6.828 tonnes have been exported to third countries. “We can say it’s a record figure with regards to the amount of sales to Europe in recent years, indicating that the consumption of fresh produce has increased”, said Jose Antonio Garcia, adding that, despite this, more produce has not been sold to new markets.

With the other large competitor in lemon, Turkey, Garcia explains that although this country has had a normal production, its sales have focused on Russia, Ukraine and Saudi Arabia, among other countries where Spanish lemon is hardly ever sold.

“We remain a predominant group within the European community”, he states, and he does not rule out export opportunities to Russia once the Turkish season ends around late February.

84 % more for industry
The industry has been allocated 42.911 tonnes, 84% more than last year. In 2012 the total was 23.262 tonnes.

“There has been a good demand and the fact that those production areas in Spain that had been affected by hail were able to derive these fruits to this sector, has helped”, said the head of Ailimpo.

Forecasts are that this will continue for the rest of the season.

With regards to prices, these remain similar in the home market and are above production costs in relation to those of 2012. The year 2013 closed with the field price for a kilo of lemon at approximately 0.23 Euros. “The price is still profitable and our forecast is that it will remain that way for the rest of the season”, the director of Ailimpo pointed out and added, that market prices also provide positive figures, “although January might be more complicated”.

To summarize, José Antonio García comments that in the first four months of the season, “a balance of strengths” is taking place and Fino lemon is being worked at a good pace. As for the other variety, Verna, that will be marketed in a few months time, the head of Ailimpo does not want to get into “the realm of speculation because it’s too soon”, although he acknowledges that the prospects “look good “.