We expect to reach one million Tahiti lime plants in the coming years.
According to foreign agribusiness statistics published by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply (AGROSTAT), in 2021, Tahiti lime shipments totaled 144.94 million kilos, increasing by 21% over 2020. In this first quarter of 2022, export data reflect a new year-on-year increase of close to 20%. This is strengthening the position of Tahiti limes and the Brazilian operators specializing in it, including Lima Citrus.
"We have around 5,000 hectares planted and more than one and a half million plants if we count limes, oranges, and mandarins," says Yweenns Ferraz, Export Manager at the company of Grupo Tonheiro. "We have fixed partners in the international market with whom we work with programs, although sometimes we also venture into the free market, mainly in the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, and France. We also market our Tahiti limes in the domestic market in Brazil through two stores of our own and our distributing customers."
"As for the Chilean market, which recently opened for Brazilian Tahiti limes, due to our signed commitments, we are not going to start any work there yet, although we are assessing it for the future."
Tahiti limes are the most exported Brazilian fresh citrus fruit in a country that is, by far, the world's largest producer of oranges; according to FAOSTAT data, in 2020, Brazil produced a whopping 16.7 million tons of oranges (approximately 140 times more than Tahiti limes).
"Climatic factors mainly influence the Brazilian orange. The more tropical climate and the strong sunshine do not give the fruit the color desired by the European market. Moreover, Africa and Spain have a very attractive production regarding costs and the distance to be covered to deliver the fruit to the market, which guarantees a better position for them in the European market," says Yweenns. "Still, our fruit has a high juice content and high Brix, which guarantees a delicious juice and high yield, so the Brazilian orange is very attractive for the juice concentrate market, and that's the one where Brazil reaches high export volumes."
"A key point I would like to highlight is that we are a company within the Legal Amazon. Our fruits are practically pesticide-free, we do not have pests and diseases like those in São Paulo and other places in Brazil, and our climate is ideal for the production of Tahiti limes, which guarantees that we'll be able to supply a differentiated product," says Yweenns Ferraz.