W34: Lemon and Lime Update

In W34 in the lemon and lime landscape, Turkish citrus exporters anticipate the start of the lemon season, with Meyer lemons being the first in line for harvesting. The export permit is expected around September 5 to 10, followed by the rest of the citrus season. Meyers and Interdonato lemons are expected to have good volume for the 2022/23 season. The heatwave in Turkey has impacted lemon cultivation, with early lemons being more yellow than usual. Heavy competition is expected, with Spain being the largest competitor, followed by Italy and Greece, South Africa, and Argentina.

The Horticultural Development Council (HDC) reported that Zimbabwe has exported 10x40 reefers of lemons via Beira Port to Jebel Ali for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) market, originating from the Macheke district in Mashonaland East province. The transit time is higher than usual due to the low export season out of Beira but it should return to normal 16-day transit time. The HDC expects lemon exports to increase 87% from 2.3 thousand metric tons (mt) in 2022 to 4.4 thousand mt in 2023.

Lemon farmers in Moulvibazar, Bangladesh, face losses despite a large harvest due to low prices and lack of cold storage. Lemon prices dropped during peak season due to high supply, and production costs exceeded sales. Local orchard owners argue that low market prices don't cover labor and production costs, forcing them to leave the fruits in the trees. Local wholesalers claim the production exceeds demand, causing a significant drop in the price.

The rising insecurity in Michoacán, a significant lemon-producing state in Mexico, has increased lemon prices across the country. In Aug-23, prices increased by 7% week-on-week (WoW), raising concerns about a possible shortage of lemons in the market. This price hike is due to the increased influence of organized crime in Michoacán. Data from the Grupo Consultor de Mercados Agricolas (GCMA) indicates that lemon producers in the region are currently receiving USD 1.01 per kilogram (kg) (MXN 17/kg).

Moreover, the Mexican government is launching a criminal investigation into the extortion and threats of lime growers in the west of Mexico. A lime grower reported that the local drug cartel had increased protection payments five-fold in just a few weeks. This situation threatens Mexican cuisine and evokes the darkest days of the country's 2006 to 2012 drug war. The Michoacán state interior secretary stated that the government will continue supporting lime growers to ensure their activities continue without impunity.

Lastly, the prices for Tahiti acid limes in Brazil have decreased in W34, despite the limited supply. Buyers are facing challenges in selling the fruit at the current price levels. In W34, the average price for Tahiti limes was USD 14.97/27kg (BRL 72.97/27kg), a 5.21% week-on-week (WoW) decrease. Despite the price decline, the current price of the Tahiti limes is still relatively high.

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