Spain forecasts higher lemon production for 2018-19
Industry association AILIMPO's first estimate of the season pegged volumes at 1.3 million metric tons (MT).
This figure will allow it to remain the main supplier of fresh lemons in the European market and the second processing country worldwide, it said.
With harvests due to begin in September, the Fino variety is expected to see an increase of 14% due to good flowering conditions and new plantings coming online.
A production of 920,000MT is forecast for the industry's main variety, dependent on the amount of water available in summer and rainfall in autumn.
“The Fino lemon crop forecasted will allow increasing exports to non-EU markets, more tonnage for processing and keeping similar volumes for the European markets," the group said.
Production of the Verna variety is forecast at 380,000MT, which is almost double last year when production was 38% lower than the two-year average. This season's forecast would be a 9% rise on the 2016-17 season.
“Excellent flowering, new plantations coming into production and the impact of grafting orange trees with Verna lemon trees explain the strong growth of this native Spanish variety, which is marketed over the summer months, meaning Spanish supply will be available during most part of next 2019 summer," AILIMPO said.
The group said this campaign's expected production will allow the sector to consolidate its export volume of fresh fruit to EU markets.
It added that good volumes of both Fino and Verna varieties would allow it to boost exports to non-EU markets like the Middle East, Canada and Brazil.
"With this harvest forecast, the lemon processing industry into juice, essential oils and dehydrated peel expects to return to normal lemon processing activity, where Spain ranks second in the world and which plays a key role in regulating supply and market balance," it said.
AILIMPO also expects the larger volumes to allow for "a proper balance of pricing and distribution of financial value along the chain".