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Citrus exports look to grow

Home Agriculture Citrus exports look to grow

THE 2024 citrus export season will begin in earnest in April In the build-up to the export season, the variety focus groups of the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa (CGA) presented their predicted export volumes for the upcoming season at the Citrus Marketing Forum held last week.

According to CGA CEO, Justin Chadwick, overall, an increase in export volume is expected. This is a testament to the resilience of South African citrus growers, producing more citrus under challenging circumstances, such as steep increases in input costs, loadshedding and deteriorating public infrastructure. This increase is also a result of younger trees coming into production across a number of regions.

The following estimates have been provided for the 2024 season:

  • The current prediction is that 37.9 million (15kg) cartons of lemons will be exported to key markets, which is an increase of 7% over last year.
  • Figures for oranges are also expected to be up. Predictions show a 4% increase in export volume for Navel oranges, with 25.6 million (15kg) cartons expected to be packed.
  • Grapefruit exports are also predicted to increase back up to the long-term average. The 14% growth figure translates into 16.7 million (15kg) cartons.
  • The Satsuma season is likely to close around the 1.7 million mark (up 16%), while Clementines and Novas are expected to reach 5.4 million (up 8%) and 4.5 million (up 8%), respectively.

Chadwick said he quality of the fruit for 2024 looks to be excellent and timing for harvesting is expected to be typical. Recent dry conditions in the northern growing regions could mean that fruit sizes might be somewhat smaller than in 2023, but late rains could change this. Meetings with a variety focus groups are held regularly to track estimates and any final data on fruit sizes will be communicated when available.

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