Lemon growers in the only region of Argentina permitted to export to the U.S. market are stepping up their phytosanitary efforts ahead of the 2019 season, which is expected to see similar overall volumes to last year.
Martín Carignani, president of the Northwest Argentine Citrus Association (ACNOA) told FreshFruitPortal.com: “We are going to comply with all the requisites and the clients’ demands, both in terms of quality and quantity.”
He said that the industry is working hard to make sure there any no phytosanitary issues with export fruit. This includes efforts to avoid any kind of outbreak of citrus greening disease, or HLB.
“Argentina officially has an HLB-free status”, although there are some areas where it has been detected in the Northwest, said Rodrigo Galíndez, technical manager for the Northwest Argentine Phytosanitary Association (AFINOA).
As part of these efforts, the industry has launched a campaign called “If you go to the NOA [Northwest Argentina], don’t bring citrus”, which seeks to educate tourists and avoid the entry of infected fruit.
Carignani also commented that officials were monitoring and inspecting lemon farms, and establishing volume forecasts for the season that is due to kick off around March.
“While the 2018 saw an increase in volumes over the 2017 season, for 2019 we are expecting normal volumes – similar to the previous season,” he said.
The Argentine lemon industry resumed shipments to the U.S. market last year following a 17-year hiatus, exporting almost 10,000 metric tons (MT). It also entered the Japanese market for the first time.