The Great Lemon Shortage

Have you, gentle reader, while walking the aisles of your local supermarket, remarked on the steep price increases in lemons(almost double) and the near-impossibility of procuring lemon juice from concentrate in its distinctive green plastic containers? Well, we did. In fact, so astounded were we by the absence of one of our staples, that we went to another food establishment and were met with the same shelve inadequacy. Conspiracy you say? Far from it! Due to a series of weather-related catastrophes, lemon production has been curtailed severely. Starting with a devastating January 2007 freeze in California to an equally deleterious temperature dip in Argentina, and combined with severe droughts in Spain, all these events have added up to a global shortage of lemons. The latest figures show a worldwide drop from 4,640,000 metric tons in 2006/2007 to 3,675,000 metric tons in 2007/2008. And the forecasts, while slightly hopeful, are only so if certain criteria are met. So if you see lemons and lemon juice, pick ’em up.  And remember that this is not the only global shortage we have seen; look at what happened to lentils and rice. Additional information may be found here:  Citrus: World Markets and Trade. Reduced Lemon Output Brings Down Total Citrus Production(July 2008); Lemon Shortage Not Over Yet(November 2007); Argentina Citrus Semi-Annual Report(May 2008); Global Shortage Means It’s A Sour Summer Ahead for Lemon Lovers(June 2008); Fruit and Tree Nuts Situation and Outlook Yearbook 2008(October 2008); Sunkist 2007 Annual Report; and Weekly Market Update Report(January 15 2009)

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