South Africa’s tangerine exports are expected to grow by 9% to 420,000 tons in the 2020/21 MY, from 385,000 tons in the 2019/20 MY, based on increased production, a strategy of prioritising exports over domestic sales, and a surge in demand due to COVID-19. Demand for tangerines/mandarins remains strong in the export markets, with the UK the leading export market, accounting for 26% of total exports, followed by the Netherlands (21%), Russia (8%) and the US (6%). Tangerines/mandarins exports are not impacted by South Africa’s CBS issues in the EU market.
According to USDA data, exports to the United States under the AGOA have grown by an average of 15% per year over the past four seasons, from 7,444 tons in the 2013/14 MY, to 18,690 tons in the 2018/19 MY. This growth trend is expected to continue based on the rising US market preference for easy peelers, and continued duty free market access under AGOA.
The Orri tangerine has seen its sales volume increase by up to 54% since its regularisation by The Enforcement Organization, S.L. (TEO), master licensee of the variety in Spain and Portugal. In its fifth season, more than 57,000 tons of Orri tangerines have been marketed, thus exceeding the forecasts for the 2019-2020 season and maintaining the trend of previous seasons that place this variety as “the best priced on the market” for the fifth consecutive year, reaching an average price per kilo of €1.15 in the field. The main growing province of Orri was Huelva (31.1%), followed by Valencia (21%), Murcia (18.7%), Almería (9.1%), Castellón (7.9%), Alicante (7.3%) and Seville (4.9%).
This has been a very unusual campaign marked by the increase in demand for citrus, largely motivated by concerns about Covid-19 and these fruits’ vitamin C content which can improve the immune system. At the same time, there has been a 28.9% fall in Spain’s production of tangerines compared to 2018/19, meaning that this has been one of the fastest and shortest campaigns on record.
“Despite the drop in prices in 2019 and the storms that devastated some areas of the Valencian coast at the beginning of the year, the pandemic caused by the coronavirus has benefited not only citrus, but local agriculture in general, and this has led to an acceleration in demand with very good results for citrus growers,” said Guillermo Soler, manager of ORC.
Recognition of the Orri tangerine has soared both in the productive sector and at the consumer level, thanks to its excellent organoleptic qualities, its ease of peeling and its healthy attributes, as well as its extraordinary natural shelf life, which facilitates exportation to multiple markets and reduces food waste.
Photo: Orri Running Committee
© Alexandra Sautois, Eurofresh Distribution
South Africa’s tangerine/mandarin crop is projected to rise by 12% in the 2019/20 campaign, continuing the sector’s strong growth of recent times. Total production is estimated to reach 421,000 tons, mainly due to an increase in production area, normal weather conditions, and improved winter rainfall received in the main production area of the Western Cape. Moreover, many plantings are now reaching maturity. COVID had a minimal impact on labour supply.
South Africa’s tangerine/mandarin exports are expected to be up 16% in 2019/20 to 344,000 tons, due to increased production and the strategy of prioritising export markets over domestic markets. It is likely that COVID-19 has also driven demand due to the assumed health benefits of Vitamin C. Indeed, demand has been strong in the export markets, with the UK leading the way (26% of the total), followed by the Netherlands (21%), Russia (8%) and the US (6%).
Many new soft citrus orchards in South Africa are under netting to improve water efficiency, yields and the overall quality. In addition, there is an increasing trend to plant late varieties, which has shifted the peak harvest of soft citrus from the beginning of May to mid-May, continuing through to July.
Abundant rainfall has increased water availability in Chile and allowed an expansion in the area planted of citrus. Likewise, citrus exports are expected to increase by 17% for the 2017-2018 season, according to the Citrus Committee of Chile-ASOEX. The greatest increase to will be for tangerines (+32%, 101,000 tons), followed by oranges (84,000 tons, +12%) and clementines (52,000 tons, +27%). Lemon exports will also rise by 1% to 78,100 tons.
The main driver of increased export volume of mandarins is the entry into production of new orchards, helped by the greater availability of water following last winter’s rains.