CITRUS INDUSTRY TO EXPLORE new export markets
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