The announcement of the reopening of the European market for Argentine citrus fruits has been good news for the entire sector. However, Carlos Satur, the president of the Citrus Cooperative of Leandro N. Alem, in the province of Misiones, said that the entity was more attentive to the possibility of sending fruits to the United States or China because the region could send the fruit more directly to these markets. Sending the fruit from Misiones to the European Union will take time due to regulations and have higher costs.
“The European Union was the main export destination for Misiones 8 years ago. Later, the Argentine product was slapped with a 16% tariff and the export volume fell a lot. Things got worse last year when the black spot disease was detected in 90 containers of Argentine fruit. Now Europe has reopened its market but with quite a few restrictions. Ultimately, Misiones is not sending fruit to that destination because other countries arrive there at a much lower cost,” he stated.
In fact, they hope to be able to ship to the United States and China soon. “We are working to open the US market for sweet fruits, which will have a strong impact on the entire NEA and Misiones. It will also directly impact the possibility of exporting to China. The Cooperative registered to export to China in September and paid for all the monitoring in March. However, China still hasn’t given Senasa the list of producers and packages that are authorized to export fruit there,” he added.
Satur said that Misiones mainly produces mandarin for export. He also said the Cooperative used to export 13,000,000 kilos and that now it was barely exporting a million kilos. “That’s how much exports have fallen due to the high cost of the Argentine product. The NEA went from shipping 130,000,000 million kilos of sweet fruits to 25,000,000 million kilos,” he stressed.
Requirements that take time
Satur said that it would take time for Misiones to make exports to the EU. “We need to register all the farms in October, perform all the inspections in December, then once again before the harvest, and exporters must register the packaging. Now, the people who didn’t register and don’t have their farms ready must wait a year or more to be able to export. Everything takes time. It may sound shocking, but the cycle of the production processes last one year,” he concluded.