Argentine lemon testing near completion for U.S. regulators
Argentina's lemon growers are in the final stages of Citrus Variegated Chlorosis (CVC) tests for U.S. regulators, as the industry looks to regain a lucrative market it lost in 2002, reported Contexto.com.ar.
The Argentine region of Tucumán is currently the world's largest lemon exporter with most shipments destined for Europe, while it is the second-largest fresh lemon exporter behind Spain, the story reported.
Tucumán Citrus Association (ATC) president Roberto Sánchez Loria told the website final steps for U.S. fitosanitary approval would be made in the coming months, but the signing of a technical protocol by the two countries by 2012 would be a best case scenario.
"Without a doubt, the producers of California will not be sympathetic to the entry of Argentine lemons," he was quoted as saying.
Argentine lemons have been blocked from the U.S. market by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for the last nine years, following pressure from Californian growers.
In 2002 Argentina exported 20,000 metric tons (MT) of lemons to the North American nation, which would be worth around US$23 million today and constitute around 10% of Argentina's total lemon exports, the story reported.
Fedecitrus president Enzo Rita told Contexto the industry could find a good niche in the U.S., with a counter season to the Northern Hemisphere between April and September.
"We are continually looking to open new markets because Europe and Russia, the main destinations, are saturated," he was quoted as saying.
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