Thinking of a nice cold glass of lemonade to help beat the Argentine summer heat? Get ready to shell out some serious cash then. A kilo of lemons costs suppliers around AR $48 but in the Federal Capital and the Interior it can set consumers back upwards of AR $90.
And although lemon producers say Donald Trump’s new effective ban on imported Argentine lemons will lead to higher prices and a lower number of fruit hitting store shelves, Buenos Aires’ Central Market disagrees, saying that these changes will not affect the domestic market.
A source from within the Central Market told La Nación: “The elevated price per kilo for lemons has to do with a matter of seasonality.”
The source then explained that lemons have two harvesting periods, one in March and one in September and therefore, prices tend to be higher this time of year up until the March harvest.
Carlos, an owner of a verdulería (a produce shop), agrees, and said that prices are not being modified because of Trump’s ban on Argentine produce but that prices were already rising due to the season and its standard shortage in lemons.
In fact, lemons are a hot commodity in the verdulería game, providing vendors an attractive profit margin. A fifty percent margin to be exact, getting AR $750 to AR $850 per crate of 18 kilograms. Not only that, but lemons also have a lengthy shelf life — 15 to 20 days which is pretty hardy compared to most other fruit and vegetables.
The Central Market said, “If some verdulerías are raising prices, it’s because of speculation.” Citing the worry over US trade policy to be unnecessary because there are other destinations that would gladly take the citrus off our hands, such as Brazil and Europe.
Based on prices though, lemon producers don’t seem to be all that sold on the idea.