South Africa’s 2019/20 orange crop is projected to grow by 1% to 1.6 million tons, according to CGA data. The increase is attributed to good rainfall in the main growing regions, the rise in area planted, better water management techniques by farmers, and new plantings of high yielding and late-maturing varieties. Exports are expected to be up 8% to 1.28 million tons this campaign, thanks to the larger crop, better fruit quality, and rise in demand for sources of Vitamin C to fight COVID-19. The EU remains South Africa’s largest export market for oranges, accounting for 38% of total shipments. However, exports to Asia and the Middle East have grown steadily over the years due to the industry’s focus on growing these markets.
Exports to the US are expected to continue, albeit with a gradual shift from oranges to soft citrus exports, as South African farmers supplying the US market have been re-planting their orchards with soft citrus in response to market preferences and the higher premium received in the US. Indeed, South Africa’s orange exports to the US dropped in 2019 due to this shift in consumer preference.