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South Africa’s 2015/16 citrus outlook

South Africa’s citrus production will remain flat at 2.63 million tons in 2015/16 MY, predicts the latest USDA GAIN South Africa Citrus Supply and Demand report.

South Africa’s citrus production will remain flat at 2.63 million tons in 2015/16 MY, predicts the latest USDA GAIN South Africa Citrus Supply and Demand report.

Increased planted area is behind an expected increase in production of grapefruit, lemons and soft citrus, growth offset in the overall citrus figures by a smaller orange crop due to a decrease in area planted and the impact of hail damage in Hoedspruit, Limpopo, the report says.

Citrus Black Spot

South Africa still faces challenges in the EU due to that market’s stringent Citrus Black Spot (CBS) requirements. Also causing concern has been drought due to the El Nino in the Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo and Northern Cape, though its impact on citrus production was estimated as minimal (at time of the report) due to the availability of irrigation water. Concerns remained, however, that it would result in smaller fruit sizes.

2015/16 marketing year forecasts for South African citrus from USDA post

Production to increase marginally by 1% to 405,000 tons in the 2015/16 MY, based on the increase in area planted. Star Ruby is the most planted grapefruit variety due to its high global demand.
Exports will also increase marginally by 1% to 224,000 tons based on the increase in production and the weak rand exchange rate.

Production to decrease marginally by 1% to 1.69 billion tons based on the impact of hail which affected the Hoedspruit, Limpopo producing region. Producers prefer Valencia oranges over Navels as Valencias have a longer shelf life and produce more yields than Navels.    
Orange exports of oranges to decline 4% to 1.15 billion tons based on the lower production and uncertainty over exports to the EU due to ongoing CBS challenges.

Mandarins/tangerines (includes clementines & satsumas)
Production to rise 3% to 205,000 tons thanks to increased planted area. Nardocott is one of the most popular soft citrus cultivars in South Africa. Industry statistics indicate that some growers have started planting the Tango cultivar, which is seedless and is still waiting to be granted its Plant Breeders Rights.
Exports of tangerines/mandarins to rise 3% to 162,000 tons, based on increased production, growing market opportunities in the Middle East and Asia, and weakening of the rand exchange rate.

Lemons & limes
Production to stay flat at 331,000 tons based on area planted and normal weather conditions.
Exports to also remain flat at 244,000 tons, based on the available production. However, mainly due to growth in the Asian and Middle East markets, and the weakening rand exchange rate, South Africa’s lemon/lime exports have risen from 219,617 tons in 2013/14.

Distribution of Citrus Production by Area

Source: USDA GAIN report: South Africa Citrus Supply and Demand Report published December 10, 2015

Aerial view of the Limpopo River: By TSGT CARY HUMPHRIES [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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EU says will review CBS situation before next citrus export season

The European Commission, together with Member States, says it will review the situation with citrus black spot CBS interceptions well before the next export season and non-EU countries with recurrent interceptions will be approached on how to comply better with the EU requirements.

The European Commission says, together with Member States, it will review the situation with citrus black spot (CBS) interceptions well before the next export season. Non-EU countries with recurrent interceptions will be approached on how to comply better with the EU requirements. Furthermore, specific audits to evaluate the system of official controls and certification of citrus fruit for export to the EU are planned by the Food and Veterinary Office in 2016, including to South Africa and Argentina.

This is among the information provided on behalf of the Commission by EU Chief for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis. He was responding to a written question in the European Parliament from Spanish MEP Clara Aguilera García (S&D). Aguilera had raised concerns about cases of the disease in citrus imports from South Africa and Argentina, asking how the Commission planned to prevent CBS spreading to the EU.

Andriukaitis said due to the recurrent number of interceptions of this pest on citrus fruit from South Africa during the 2015 import season, the possible need to revise Decision 2014/422/EU was discussed with Member States. “They agreed to maintain the current emergency measures requesting an increased vigilance to South Africa for the 2015 season.

“From 9 October onwards, South African authorities have unilaterally decided to ban the export to the Union of citrus fruit originating in areas where Phyllosticta citricarpa is present. Finally, the number of import interceptions from South Africa has decreased in 2015 compared to previous years,” he said.

He went on to say the situation would be reviewed before the next export season.

Image: By Cesar Calderon (USDA APHIS PPQ, [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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South Africa’s deciduous fruit supply

South Africa is the Southern Hemisphere’s fourth biggest apple producer and ranks second for pears.

With about 79,803 ha last year, deciduous fruit is the largest sub-sector for all land dedicated to fruit plantations in South Africa.

And of the country’s total area planted with deciduous fruit, grapes (fresh and dried), apples and pears together accounted for about 78%, reports the USDA’s Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN).

In an update on South African deciduous fruit supply and demand, it says South Africa is the Southern Hemisphere’s fourth biggest apple producer and ranks second for pears.

The Western Cape is the country’s largest and traditional producer of deciduous fruits, but in the past two decades the Northern and Eastern Cape, and Limpopo provinces have become increasingly large producers of deciduous fruit, GAIN says.

Forecasts from the South African post in the report include:

South African apple production is expected to increase by 2% to 865,000 tons in the 2016 marketing year (January to December), and exports to inch up 1% to 455,000 tons, based on the available production and the weak rand exchange rate.
Africa is now the leading export market for South Africa apples, taking nearly half of total exports, followed by the EU (26%), Asia (20%) and the Middle East (7%).
The top 5 export countries in 2014 were the UK (17%), Malaysia (11%), Nigeria (11%), Angola (4%) and the UAE (4%).

South African pear production is forecast to rise 3% to 410,000 tons in 2016 based on normal growing conditions and the minimal impact of the dry weather conditions on irrigation water availability.
Exports are set to fall 7% to 190,000 tons based on the difficult global pear market, and growth in the local processing market demand and prices.
The EU takes about 57% of the total exports followed by Asia (22%), the Middle East (14%), and Africa (7%).
The Netherlands is the biggest individual market, accounting for 27% of the export market followed by the UAE at 10%.

Table grapes
Another exceptional season is expected for table grape production, with a marginal rise on last season to 294,000 tons.
Exports are also expected to rise marginally, by 1% to 266,000 tons, based on the available production and continued strong demand due to the weak exchange rate.
The EU takes at least 75% of the table grapes exports.
“South Africa benefits from a shorter shipping distance than other Southern Hemisphere competitors, strong demand for seedless varieties, and a free trade agreement with the EU,” the report says, also noting that “exports to Asia (14%), the Middle East (6%) and Africa (4%) have strong growth potential.”

Domestic consumption
Domestic consumption of apples, pears and table grapes is forecast to remain flat in 2016 based on the available production and South Africa’s slow economic growth prospects.
South Africa is a net exporter of deciduous fruits, and only imports small quantities of apples, pears and grapes to fulfill a niche market or to satisfy domestic demand when supply is limited

South Africa flag image: Flag design by Frederick Brownell, image by Wikimedia Commons users [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Exporters of fruit to Russia urged to demand full payment on loading

Screenshot 2015-09-01 at 5

South Africa’s Citrus Growers’ Association (CGA) has warned fruit growers of risks of defaults by Russian importers.

Describing the current economic situation in Russia as ‘extraordinary’, the CGA said it is one that demands “extraordinary measures to be taken to prevent losses to SA fruit industry.”

In a message from the CGA representative in Moscow, it advised SA exporters not to ship fruits without 100% payment on the date of loading. “In our view as experts on the spot such condition will be understood and positively accepted by prudent Russian importers. For importers commodities now present better guarantee against losses, than cash in Rubles.”

Forecasts of further decline of oil prices, the present devaluation of Chinese currency, economic problems in Far Eastern countries, and unfavorable news from the New York Stock Exchange are factors expected to see the strengthening of the USD and further weakening of the Ruble, it said.

“So far retail has been loyal to their word given to government to keep prices stable. But with weakening of the Ruble purchasing power in the international markets they will not be able to subsidise the prices, and first of all of imported commodities,” it cautioned.

source: CGA FROM THE DESK OF THE CEO (33/15) 28 August 2015

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Southern Africa’s citrus growers urged to stay cool in tricky market


Southern Africa’s citrus growers are entering a season that has “difficult” written all over it, according to Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers Association of Southern Africa,

in his newsletter for this week, he said Southern Africa’s volumes available for export continue to grow but amid a context of markets still under recessionary pressure, geopolitical decisions leading to uncertain market conditions, and protection of domestic producers becoming a priority.

“Responsible decision making will mean keeping unwanted or oversupplied fruit out of the market (sell domestically or processed),” Chadwick said.

In one of his newsletters last month, he had explained why the Southern African citrus industry had asked officials to suspend the issue of phytosanitary certificates for fruit to be exported to Spain, amid concerns over how tests for citrus black spot (CBS) are carried out there.

Russian importers looking to secure fruit at lower prices

In his latest newsletter, Chadwick said there had been reports from Russia of “a lot of Egyptian oranges of substandard quality available, selling at very low prices”, a situation that would continue to the end of May. With the weak ruble resulting in food inflation of 16-17%, buyers are seeking to source fruit at lower prices and growers need to be careful, he said.

The Middle East: seller beware

Chadwick said care is also needed in the Middle East. Strict payment conditions should be imposed and growers need to ensure they fully understand the terms and conditions their export agents are negotiating as “at the end of the day the grower bears the losses resulting from a poor deal,” he said.

Export volume estimates for 2015

Chadwick also reported that the forecast is for this year’s packed for export volume to be 113.1 million 15kg cartons, down 2.2% on last year.

  • Oranges: valencia down 3.5% to 49.1 million cartons; navels down 3.5% to 25.1 million cartons. These decreases mainly due to hail in Senwes and Western Cape growing regions
  • Lemons: up 2.9% to 13.6 million
  • Grapefruit: down 2% to 15.3 million cartons. Exporters have said this estimate could be revised further downward as the season unfolds and quality specifications become clearer
  • Soft citrus exports: steady at 10 million cartons
  • Satsuma: to increase 2% to 1.8 million cartons
  • Mandarins: to rise 4% to 5.3 million cartons
  • Clementines: down 5%

Read the newsletter here.



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South Africa dominating German market with its late season table grapes

ble graph table grapes


A glut of table grapes on the market earlier in the season has seen prices crumble in Europe, as this graph from Germany’s Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) shows.

In its market report to the end of week 4 of 2015, the BLE said South African growers are dominating table grape imports into Germany, mainly with the seedless grapes Prime, Flame and Thompson.

Also taking advantage of a window of opportunity as the Southern Hemisphere production winds down are suppliers from Namibia, with the same varieties as South Africa but also some Sugraone and Dan Ben Hannah.

The supply of Peruvian and Brazilian grapes has continued to taper off, the BLE said.

In 2013 Germany imported nearly 320,000 tons of fresh table grapes, with two fifths coming from Italy and an eighth from Greece.