Southern Africa is expected to export a record 143.3 million cartons of citrus fruit to over 100 countries in 2020, according to Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers’ Association (CGA).
This will be a 13% increase compared to 2019, which saw 126.7 million cartons being exported, generating R20 billion in export revenue and creating 120 000 jobs.
According to Chadwick the growth is largely as a result of new orchards coming into production and good rains across some regions.
He said Valencia oranges were expected to make up the biggest portion of the citrus export market at 35%, followed by navel oranges (19%), lemons (18%), soft citrus (16%) and grapefruit (12%).
“The soft citrus and lemon categories are expected to show the highest growth in 2020. Soft citrus will see an increase of 28%, with the Boland region contributing 12% more cartons than last year. Regions in the northern parts of the country, including the Burgersfort/Ohrigstad region, Senwes and Hoedspruit will also see exponential growth in their soft citrus outputs,” said Chadwick. “The Sunday’s River Valley, which exports almost half of the region’s lemons, is expected to export 12 million cartons this year, an 18% increase from 2019.”
Chadwick emphasised that while the CGA was confident that the 2020 season would be a success, it was important to realise that there were always events beyond growers’ control that could affect final export numbers. - Liesl Venter