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Southern African citrus to reach new heights as 2021 export estimate is released

Southern African citrus to reach new heights as 2021 export estimate is released

The Citrus Growers Association of Southern Africa (CGA) is excited to announce that the South African citrus industry will likely break all previous export season records with an estimated 158.7 million cartons in 2021. If the estimate is reached, it would represent a third consecutive season of record export volumes, with 130 million cartons exported in 2019, followed by 146 million cartons in 2020. Our current projections for 2021 indicate a 22% growth in export figures in just 2 years.

Eswatini and Zimbabwe combined have also increased their export figures from 3.9 million cartons in 2020, to an estimated 4.4 million cartons in 2021 – an increase of 13%, bringing the total Southern African volume to be exported through our ports to more than 163 million cartons.

Navel oranges and lemons have shown a small increase since last year, while Valencia oranges (5%) and grapefruit (16%) have shown a stronger increase. Soft citrus producing regions are projected to show the most significant growth, with an estimated 30.5 million cartons for export in 2021, 29% up on last year. The Late Mandarin varieties in particular stand out within the soft citrus category, with an expected growth of 42% this year. That being said, the Soft Citrus Focus Group Chairperson has cautioned that these estimates may be adjusted downwards once the season gets underway, as the continued drought in the Eastern Cape and exceedingly wet conditions in the Northern growing regions may affect export volumes negatively.

Medium-term crop estimates indicate that the citrus industry is expected to continue increasing its exports by another 300 000 tons over the next three years. The growth projections for soft citrus, lemons and Valencia oranges alone indicate an expected additional R6.8 billion in foreign exchange earnings and the creation of 22 250 sustainable jobs over the next three years.

These figures indicate phenomenal growth within the South African citrus industry, and for our local economy. The demand for our produce overseas is a wonderful testament to the quality of South Africa’s citrus fruit. There is no doubt that citrus growers are investing heavily for the future, with more than R1-billion in grower levies over the next four years going into research and technology to support market access and transformation, while creating an enabling logistics environment to move the fruit.

To maximise the potential of the citrus industry as a South African export, we are going to need government and other stakeholders to play their part.  For example, we will be relying heavily on the efficiency of our ports in order to successfully ship the additional 13 million cartons estimated for this year alone. We will also need to work hand-in-hand with government to secure, maintain and retain as many market access opportunities as possible. Optimising access conditions will be essential for the continued growth of our industry.

The citrus industry will continue growing as a valuable source of both income and jobs while we work together with government and other stakeholders to help rebuild the South African economy. Increasing agricultural exports, creating jobs and investment in transformation are all fundamental ingredients of the South African citrus story. Together, we can and will continue to exceed expectations.

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Southern Africa’s citrus growers tip early season end

By the end of the first week of July, 58.5 million 15 Kg cartons had been packed (up from 53.9 million in 2015) and 47.8 million had been shipped (up from 44.4 million).

Packing of citrus in Southern Africa is so far ahead of last season but growers expect an early end to the season.

In his weekly newsletter, Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa CEO Justin Chadwick said in previous years packing was interrupted by rain in the Eastern Cape (mostly affecting navels and lemons – with up to 15 days being lost before mid-July), but the 2016 season packing has not been affected.

“In addition, the tempo of navel packing was increased to ensure good quality.Although packed data shows 2016 ahead of last season, expectations are that there will be an early stop to the season.

Data in the newsletter show that by the end of the first week of July, 58.5 million 15 Kg cartons had been packed (up from 53.9 million in 2015) and 47.8 million had been shipped (up from 44.4 million).

However the current estimate for packing in 2016 as a whole is 108.4 million, down from last year’s 118.4 million.


source: CGA



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Southern African citrus growers welcome Brexit

Brexit could mean UK consumers have access to southern African citrus fruit at lower prices, according to Citrus Growers Association of southern Africa CEO Justin Chadwick.

Brexit should see a normalisation of citrus trade between southern Africa and the UK, “unencumbered by protectionism, tariffs and technical barriers to trade,” says the Citrus Growers Association of southern Africa.

In his weekly newsletter, published on July 1, CGA CEO Justin Chadwick also said exiting the European Union could see consumers in the UK – the biggest importer of southern African citrus in the past century, taking about 10% of its total citrus exports – enjoy southern African citrus at lower prices.

Chadwick said the impact of the vote by the UK to exit the EU is yet to be fully played out and the consequences – good and bad – will surface for many years.

However, among the longer term ramifications from the point of view of the South African citrus trade include that an independent UK will probably introduce its own plant health regulations, which should be easier to comply with than present EU regulations. “This alone, would be a significant boost for the Southern African citrus industry,” he said.

The UK will also need to enter into new trade negotiations with southern African countries with regard to trade preferences and duties. “Since citrus would not be a sensitive product with regard to protecting domestic producers it could be anticipated that the UK would have reduced duty levels for southern African citrus. This would mean that UK citizens could potentially enjoy excellent quality southern African citrus at even lower prices.”

As for the devaluation of the British Pound against the US$ following the Brexit decision, Chadwick said this will mean imports are more expensive in the UK and could reduce demand for them. “Interestingly the Rand/UK Pound exchange rate has not changed significantly. It will be interesting to see if the currency recovers.”

CGA CEO Justin Chadwick

Southern Africa supplies 36% of the UK’s imported grapefruit, 27% of its imported oranges, 19% of its imported soft citrus and 11% of its imported lemons. South Africa holds a dominant position amongst southern hemisphere suppliers to the UK.

Chadwick also said recent Freshfel statistics show South African fruit and vegetables hold the third spot in terms of imports by the UK in value terms (€510 million), behind Spain (€1.6 million) and the Netherlands (€886 million).

Read his full newsletter here: