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Author Topic: Australian Lemons in Massive Demand  (Read 698 times)


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Australian Lemons in Massive Demand
« on: August 11, 2014, 10:39:28 PM »
Australian lemon growers are set for a highly lucrative season this year due to very strong domestic and international markets, according to one citrus producer.

Fresh Produce general manager of exports, Brian Charles, said the fruit would perform far better this year compared to other popular citrus fruits like oranges and easy peelers.

“The variety in Australia that is in massive demand at the moment, domestically and export, is lemons. The lemon market is very strong in Australia,” Charles said.

“There are a couple of reasons – obviously the American volumes have been affected by frost and drought, and it’s my understanding that the lemon market is just strong worldwide.”

California, one of the U.S.’s largest citrus producers, experienced devastating frosts last winter that led to an average crop loss of 30%.

Charles went on to say the high prices lemons were fetching was not a new trend, though they had been doing particularly well over the last year.

“Lemon returns in Australia have been good for a number of years, and in the latter part of last year and first half of this year they’ve been very strong,” he said.

Australia’s export prospects for other citrus types are reportedly looking good as well, although a warmer start to the winter this year has delayed color development.

“Normally at this time of the year we would have had several frosts which help bring out the color, and at the moment we’ve had no significant frosts,” Charles said.

“The overnight temperatures have actually been quite mild around 4-6°C (39 – 43°F) overnight, and I think since the start of May we’ve only had one night where the temperature was below 1°C (34°F),” Charles said.

Another citrus grower, Seven Fields, said the warmer weather would likely mean the industry would produce more class 2 quality fruit of some varieties, adding that sizing and internal quality should not be affected.

“We’ve had a very windy spring and an early summer last year, so Australia’s going to grow a lot of class 2 Navels, so externally there’s going to be a lot of blemishes of the fruit from Australia this year,” said head of marketing Brett Jackson.

Jackson also said he had noticed interest in Navels had been declining over recent years, while the popularity of other varieties had started to shoot up.

“The markets are all starting to shift steadily towards easy peelers and soft citrus over Navel oranges. Navels are getting tougher every year,” Jackson said.

Export markets

Charles said although Chile and South Africa were Australia’s biggest citrus competitors, the countries seasons peak in different months and last for different lengths of time.

“South Africa is significant competition during our winter months, which is June, July and August, but by late August they’re virtually done with their Navels and into things like Midknight Valencias,” he said.

“The best three months for Australian citrus up into Asia is September, October, November because we’re the only ones who have got Navels. Other Southern Hemisphere competition have moved on to Valencias by then.

“So those three months, particularly like second half of September, all of October, and the first half of November we basically have the whole world at our disposal because we’re the only ones who have got decent navels.”



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