The spread of the Coronavirus reached Argentina at a key moment for local citrus farming. Just as Citrusvil was preparing to start the 2020 campaign, the company was faced with an unexpected situation, which led it to rethink its actions and condition the facilities to be able to keep production processes active, redoubling efforts to keep its collaborators safe.

Citrusvil started the season with the aim of exporting some 40,000T of fresh fruit and, considering that this year its farms are offering a better quality of lemons thanks to continuous improvement in management, added to the accompaniment of good weather, the company can continue providing customers with a product according to their requirements, fulfilling all the commercial commitments assumed from the beginning.

The first shipments were mainly destined for the markets of Russia, Ukraine, Mexico, Canada, the Far and Middle East, and around the middle of April they started our shipping programs for Europe and the United States, the country where they aim to triple the volume export compared to last year. At the moment, Citrusvil has exported to all destinations around 14,000 T, which reflects an important advance with respect to the objectives initially set.

“However, we are aware that the season is presented as complex and uncertain, since we must consider different variables that come into play based on the panorama posed by the pandemic, in addition to internal and external competition,” says Francisco Rotella, Manager Citrusvil Fresh Fruit Commercial.

On one hand, although an increase in the demand for lemon was perceived, due to the importance of Vitamin C for strengthening the immune system and the need for the population to stay as healthy as possible, there was also a sharp contraction in consumption by the HORECA channel (Hotels, Restaurants and Cafeteria), a critical sector for the food industry, which represents 40% of consumption in Europe, and 60% in the US.

On the other hand, South Africa joins the competition, which this year is determined to export a volume of 400,000 tons of lemons, compared to the 300,000 tons that Argentina seeks to reach, which implies that it will have an important role in the international market. . Lastly, although Spain will have a lower production, this country continues to have an active participation in the European market.

“Taking into account the volumes already shipped by the Southern Hemisphere (Argentina and South Africa), and considering the potential of loads that have these origins, the unknown is to know how consumption will be from post-COVID-19 tourism activity, mainly in Europe, a destination that represents for us in particular, and for Argentina in General, approximately 60% of lemon shipments ”, concludes Rotella.

As for industrial production, they started the season with a goal of milling 250,000 tons of fruit. The implementation of the strict protocols established by the company in order to ensure the continuity of our operations, allowed them to start the season in a timely manner, and progress correctly with production, to the point that to date they carry 90,000 T processed.

“This volume is above what was initially projected, which gives us to understand that, despite the limitations generated by the pandemic, the company is firm and positive in view of the proposed objective”, highlights Alex Nolte, Commercial Manager of Citrusvil industry.

Although a 10% decrease in lemon production at the national level was expected from the beginning this year, as the season progresses, the drop in it appears to be even greater than initially forecast. However, the drop in production in Spain encourages them to think about the possibility of locating more juice in differen

Unlike fresh fruit, juices did not have the same impact on sales growth despite also containing vitamin C. However, it should be noted that in Citrusvil the market for this product is recovering, and that sales of Peel and oils are developing at a good rate.

“Many and diverse are the external factors that interfere today in operations in general, and that is why we must try to anticipate the inconveniences, in order to minimize the impact they may have on our organization,” adds Alex.

Global uncertainty is generating unpredictable buyer behavior that makes long-term planning difficult, putting the company before the challenge of rethinking its strategies and being more creative on a day-to-day basis.

Meanwhile, Citrusvil continues to work to ensure the responsible sourcing of its supply chains, focused as always on research and innovation to improve its product portfolio and develop new solutions that meet the specific needs of customers, while taking care of the health and integrity of its collaborators, suppliers and consumers.