First U.S.-bound Argentine lemon shipments to take place in April -

First U.S.-bound Argentine lemon shipments to take place in April

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First U.S.-bound Argentine lemon shipments to take place in April

Argentina is set to begin exporting lemons to the U.S. market by mid-April after a long hiatus, local media La Nacion reported. 

Exporters are gearing up to send a consignment of around 5,000 metric tons (MT), according to the article. The industry had hoped to send the inaugural shipments last year but was unable to in the end.

The Argentine citrus season is expected to get into full swing just after Easter, Federcitrus president José Carbonell recently told Fresh Fruit Portal.

Regarding the U.S. market, Carbonell explained that exporters would be "starting simply [and] with caution".

"The plan is to send the fruit, which has already been sold. The important thing is to enter the market, for them to receive the fruit and to appreciate it, and with time we can develop the market," he said.

However, La Nación reported the industry has "expectations to sell 20,000MT throughout the year" in the U.S. market.

They also revealed that there would be four packaging firms exporting to the U.S. to begin with - Latin Lemon, Citromax, Argenti Lemon and Ledesma.

The industry is waiting for the arrival of an audit from the U.S. before they allow for more firms to become involved in the market, the story reported.

Colombian market access on the horizon?

Argentina is also looking at the possibility of exporting lemons and mandarins to Colombia.

Representatives from Argentina's National Food Safety and Quality Service (SENASA) and the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) have been discussing the "administrative and phytosanitary processes that would permit the exportation of lemons, mandarins and garlic from Argentina to Colombia," Carbonell said.

"There is nothing official yet with Colombia. We are working on exporting lemons and mandarins and they opened the market to us but with the request that we fumigate before we send the fruit, which is something that isn't really admissible," he said.

"So we made a counter-proposal to apply the same protocols that we have with the US and Mexico".

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