World lime production presented an average annual variation of +4.0% between 2011 and 2020, with Mexico being the 2nd largest lime producer with 2,954,431 tonnes in 2021, according to SIAP data. In terms of exports, it ranks 1st with 796,693 tonnes exported in 2020.
In Mexico, lime production has presented an average annual variation of +4.3% during the 2011-2020 period, having the most important increase in 2011 with 12.8% with respect to 2010 and the historical maximum production in 2021, which represented a 3.6% growth over 2020.
The main lime producing state in Mexico is Veracruz, producing 804,729 t in 2021, followed by Michoacán (800,218 t), Oaxaca (306,009 t), Colima (299,506 t) and Tamaulipas (141,917 t), states that together produce 79.6% of the national total, while Martínez de la Torre (Veracruz) is the main producing municipality with 278,113 t.
The production peak is quite marked, having the highest volumes during October and November, decreasing towards the beginning of the year reaching the minimum of production in March, and then increasing again during the summer, which is why the price of limes increases at the beginning of the year.
It can be said that in Mexico 100% of lime production is carried out in the open-air, since there are no records on production through protected agriculture. On the other hand, as for the type of production, 99.4% is conventional, leaving only 0.6% for organic, so it is currently a rarely used system.
In recent years, the volume of lime exports has been steadily growing, having in 2020 an increase of 5.0% with respect to 2019, however, the value of these exports decreased 1.6% in 2019 and 8.0% in 2020.
Most Mexican lime exports are destined to the United States, with Mexico being its main supplier, which is why more than 97% of the lime imported by the United States comes from Mexico. The rest of Mexican exports are sent to Europe, Russia, Japan and South Korea.
The seasonality of exports has varied somewhat in recent years, however, the largest volumes are usually shipped between June and September, while the smallest volumes are shipped between January and April, a period during which they compete with U.S. production.
Lime production in Mexico has been growing steadily over the last decade, with 2021 being the year in which the largest volume has been obtained, so it will continue to maintain its position as the 2nd largest producer.
On the other hand, exports have been more stable, so it remains to be seen how they behave in the following years, but surely continue to represent a good business opportunity, especially to the U.S. market.
Sources: FAO-FAOSTAT, SADER-SIAP & SADER-SIAP
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