Delays for Argentine lemon harvests - FreshFruitPortal.com

Delays for Argentine lemon harvests

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Delays for Argentine lemon harvests

Rains have cut back Argentina's lemon harvests by 15 days with impacts expected to be felt on exports to Eastern Europe, website Lagaceta.com.ar reported.

The story reported the wet weather meant it was impossible for growers to tend to their lemon fields, while sugar cane and soybean growers have also been affected.

Tucuman Citrus Association president Roberto Sánchez Loria told the website the export season was supposed to start in mid-April, but a "paralysis" of harvesting would likely continue until after the first week of this month.

"Without a doubt the rain has affected us and delayed the start of the campaign. We are talking about an April that was very unusual, because there was precipitation for almost the whole period," he was quoted as saying.

He added orders have already come in from fruit purchasing countries, particularly Russia.

He told the website the productive season would also be lower than last year, due to the drought that affected Tucuman's crops from October to March.

Despite the fact such declines often raise lemon prices in international markets, Loria said this would probably not be the case in 2012.

"The adverse situation in Europe is serious and some countries are more committed than others. In Spain it is particularly serious."

Argentina's citrus-growing neighbor Chile is expecting a 2% fall in lemon exports, while previous estimates released by the Southern Hemisphere Association of Fresh Fruit Exports (SHAFFE) forecast a 2.41% year-on-year rise in Argentina's lemon exports.

Competitor South Africa is due for a 3.21% rise in lemon shipments.

Argentina's fresh lemon and lemon juice industries had an annual export value of US$520 million, according to the country's Ministry of Productive Development. The European Union accounts for US$152 million of that figure, the story reported.

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