S ea­son of reco rds for cit­rus pro­duc­tion in SA

Farmer's Weekly (South Africa) - - Contents -

South Africa’s cit­rus in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­enced a par­tic­u­larly good sea­son this year, de­spite wa­ter con­straints and dry con­di­tions in some ma­jor cit­ruspro­duc­ing re­gions. Justin Chad­wick, CEO of the Cit­rus Grow­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of South­ern Africa (CGA), said that South African cit­rus ex­porters achieved new records in terms of vol­umes packed and passed for ex­port­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to CGA, 135,6 mil­lion 15kg equiv­a­lent car­tons of cit­rus had al­ready been packed and passed for ex­port­ing thus far. This was a no­table in­crease com­pared with the ini­tial March fore­cast of 131,7 mil­lion car­tons. Soft cit­rus pro­duc­ers achieved a record vol­ume packed for ex­ports, sur­pass­ing last year’s 13,4 mil­lion car­tons to end on 16,1 mil­lion car­tons.

“There’s been an up­ward trend in soft cit­rus ex­port vol­umes since 2011, with vol­umes more than dou­bling over the past seven years,” said Chad­wick.

Lemon ex­ports also achieved a new record this year, top­ping last year’s fig­ure by al­most one mil­lion boxes. Ac­cord­ing to Chad­wick, the 2018 lemon crop packed for ex­port­ing was ex­pected to be 19,9 mil­lion car­tons.

The fi­nal packed-for-ex­port­ing fig­ure for Va­len­cia or­anges was 54 mil­lion car­tons, which was a mar­ginal im­prove­ment on the 53,8 mil­lion car­tons packed in 2017, and 0,1% higher than the ini­tial es­ti­mate of 53,9 mil­lion car­tons. Other cit­rus cat­e­gories also main­tained the up­ward trend this sea­son, with navel or­anges and grape­fruit achiev­ing record-high ex­port vol­umes of

26,6 mil­lion and 1,4 mil­lion 17kg equiv­a­lent car­tons re­spec­tively.

Ac­cord­ing to Chad­wick, growth in pro­duc­tion had mainly oc­curred in soft cit­rus and lemon.

He added that navel pro­duc­tion also re­cov­ered well this sea­son af­ter de­clin­ing sig­nif­i­cantly last year, due to the drought in the north­ern pro­duc­tion ar­eas. – Je­an­dré van der Walt

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