CIT­RUS IN­DUS­TRY TO EX­PLORE new ex­port mar­kets

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

The South African cit­rus in­dus­try har­vested record vol­umes this sea­son and it was ex­pected that the 2019 sea­son’s crop would be at least of a sim­i­lar size or slightly larger as trees reached ma­tu­rity, ac­cord­ing to Justin Chad­wick, CEO of the Cit­rus Grow­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of South­ern Africa.

The record har­vest of es­pe­cially lemon and soft cit­rus did, how­ever, re­sult in var­i­ous lo­gis­ti­cal prob­lems. “It was a big chal­lenge to get the fruit from the farms to the ports and shipped to var­i­ous mar­kets. Al­though these lo­gis­ti­cal prob­lems can­not be solved overnight, it will be a mat­ter of pri­or­ity in the 2019 sea­son.

“If we gain mar­ket ac­cess for all our cit­rus at rea­son­able re­turns, the in­dus­try and its value chain will grow and pros­per,” he said.

A RECORD CIT­RUS HAR­VEST CRE­ATED LO­GIS­TI­CAL CHAL­LENGES

“The Asian mar­ket is grow­ing ex­po­nen­tially. Last year we ex­ported 80 000t of cit­rus and this year we ex­ported

150 000t, ex­clud­ing lemons.”

In terms of the high cost of phy­tosan­i­tary re­quire­ments for ex­ports, he said the de­part­ment of agri­cul­ture was cur­rently ne­go­ti­at­ing with Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties to have South African lemons ex­empted from cold ster­il­i­sa­tion, as lemons were not a host for false codling moth. “If they suc­ceed, it will be a big game changer for the lemon in­dus­try,” said Chad­wick. The in­dus­try was also await­ing fi­nal im­por­ta­tion con­di­tions from the Philip­pines and Viet­nam, he said. – Je­an­dré van der Walt

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