The mandarin and orange sector in Northeastern Argentina is expecting exports to drop sharply this year due to lower competitivity resulting from the government's economic policies, according to an industry representative.
Legislation including the reinstatement of an export tax and reduction of export rebates will contribute to exports being around half last year's level, said Mariano Caprarulo, executive director of the Citrus Growers' Association of Northeastern Argentina.
"The reality is that for a while now, both mandarins and oranges from Northeastern Argentina have been really affected by high costs, and because of that we are not going to surpass 40,000 metric tons (MT) in exports this year," Caprarulo said, adding that the majority would be made up of mandarins.
The export season normally runs from February through November, but Caprarulo said: "Today with the crisis and the problems with costs ... I calculate that we are not going to export until April, except for some very limited shipments of early mandarins to Brazil."
He added that exports could be double the anticipated level if it were it not for the government's policies implemented last year.
This season exporters from the Northeast will remain focused on the European market.
"It's a good market, but very demanding in terms of quality and plant health. At one time it was around 50% of our exports, but today it is no more than 20% due to economic reasons," he said.
"We will continue shipping to Russia, as well as the markets that have really grown which are the Philippines and Southeast Asia."