( File photo )

Limoneira Co., Santa Paula, Calif., has entered into an agreement with FGF Trapani, a family-owned citrus operation in Argentina, acquiring 1,200 acres of lemons up front and another 1,200 over a three-year period.

The company’s operation will be known at Limoneira Argentina S.A.U., according to a news release, which will be the managing partner of the new venture, known as Trapani Fresh. Limoneira Argentina will be responsible for all fresh fruit sales, and will have a 51% interest in the operation. The agreement is expected to close in mid-March, according to the release.

“It’s very exciting for us to expand our global footprint into Argentina and thereby strengthen our ability to become a 365-day, 24/7 global supplier of fresh citrus to our valued customers around the world,” Alex Teague, senior vice president of Limoneira Co., said in the release. “This joint venture fits in nicely with our One World of Citrus initiative and we are looking forward to welcoming FGF’s family-owned business to the Limoneira team.”

The agreement provides the company with access to new markets and distribution networks, and increases production and technical capacity, Teague said in the release.

More information on the agreement will be available during Limoneira’s first-quarter financials call in early March, Harold Edwards, president and CEO said.

“We are excited to add FGF’s rich supply of citrus to our global production and increase our competitive position,” Edwards said in the release. “Our two companies have a long history with a combined 205 years in the business and this joint venture is bringing together years of industry knowledge and expertise.”

FGF was founded in 1937, and the fourth generation of the Trapani family is involved. The company has more than 3,200 acres of lemons and oranges in the provinces of Salta, Jujuy and Tucuman. A juice processing facility in Tucuman is not part of the agreement with Limoneira Argentina, according to the release.