Spanish lemon crop estimated to be lower than bumper season

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Spanish lemon crop estimated to be lower than bumper season

The Spanish lemon industry is expected to return to "normal" crop this coming season, which is forecast to be 14% lower than the record production of the previous campaign.

In its first estimate, national grower association Ailimpo predicted total production would reach 1.1m metric tons (MT).

The group said the forecast was dependent on water availability in the summer and rains in the autumn.

Production of the predominant Fino variety will likely fall by 8% year-on-year to 845,000MT. The industry expects the drop at the end of the season, with the first part of the season remaining steady.

Ailimpo said it considered new plantings and current lemon sizing when making the estimate, which it described as optimal given good water availability.

It added the Fino supply levels would allow Spain to guarantee supply programs.

As for the late-season Verna variety, Ailimpo expects a 29% drop to 260,000MT.

"The reduction in the crop of Verna lemon, an autochthonous Spanish variety, is a consequence of the resting of the trees after a record production season," the group said.

It added the volumes would cover "a large part of summer 2020 with good quality fruit."

Ailimpo also expects a "good and fair balance of prices" and distribution of economic value throughout the chain.

It expects the Spanish lemon sector will be profitable while maintaining commercial competitiveness against the "aggressive supply of lemon from competing third countries such as Turkey or Egypt".

It noted that Turkey will continue to be subject to increased pesticide controls at the European border.

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