Good news for the South African citrus industry

  • 16 Oktober 2020
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As we grow closer to the end of the season, all indications are that South African citrus exports are expected to continue growing aggressively, reaching record levels in this year. While the final export data will only be out towards the end of the year, the expectation is that exports will grow by 17% year on year this season.
In a year that was especially hard on exports, citrus is set to defy the odds as export figures are expected to fall just shy of the 150 million cartons  mark. The official figure released by the citrus growers’ association body, now stands at a projected 148.8million, which is approximately 20 million cartons more than last year’s officially packed figure of 127.5 million.

If we take a closer look at production volumes, citrus fruit is the largest fruit industry in South Africa, which is mainly focussed on the export market. The South African citrus industry is the largest citrus exporter in the Southern Hemisphere and accounts for more than 60% of Southern Hemisphere citrus exports. In addition to that, South Africa is the second biggest citrus exporting country, second only to Spain.

The citrus industry was able to bypass all challenges and setbacks that came as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak at the peak of the citrus season. They managed to quickly put measures in place to contain the crisis and emerge on the other side, reaching peak export volumes.

New Trade Deal

In September 2020, Minister of Agriculture, Thoko Didiza,  announced that South Africa had negotiated a new export agreement giving the South African citrus industry licence to export to the Philippines. This deal, which comes after 11 years of negotiations between SA and the Philippines will give the booming citrus industry an even bigger boost. The biggest volumes of citrus imported by the Philippines are Mandarins, with over 80 000 tons imported between 2016 and 2018. This growth in the export market does well to balance and accommodate growing production in the citrus industry.