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Record season for South African soft citrus exports

Record season for South African soft citrus exports, Source: CGA
Source: CGA



South Africa set a new export record in 2019 for volumes shipped of soft citrus, up 12%. Coming off the back of a good 2018 season, when 16.2 million cartons were exported, the 2019 season saw 18.2 million cartons shipped, according to data released by South Africa’s Citrus Growers Association. The main exporting region is Boland, followed by Western Cape, and Patensie, which is still suffering the effects of water shortages. The main destination market for South Africa’s soft citrus is the UK, although shipments there dropped from slightly to 61,200 tons. The second leading destination, the Netherlands, saw volumes rise by around 10% to 55,300 tons, while, in third place, Russia saw a drop 9% drop to 24,400 tons. In fourth position, the US recorded a rise in shipments of around 32% to 16,600 tons. Similar growth was recorded for exports to Bangladesh, up from 10,600 to 14,300 tons.

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South Africa’s soft citrus crops defy expectations

South Africa’s soft citrus crops defy expectations, credit image: Alexandra Sautois, Eurofresh Distribution

South Africa’s 2019 soft citrus season presented a varied picture across the country’s diverse geography. The estimates of the major organisations (e.g. Citrus Marketing Forum) were realised, with exports amounting to 18.2 million 15kg cartons, according to data published by the CGA . However, the accuracy of the estimates appears to have been a fluke, as South Africa’s fourth largest production area, Sundays River, exported 31% more than the initial estimate, while the fifth biggest, Senwes, exported 42.6% less than had been forecast. The largest soft citrus region (Boland) exported 17% more than the estimate, and the second biggest region (Western Cape) shipped 14% more than had been projected. The Patensie region in the end exported 6% less than was expected.