Record year for citrus exports; 137m boxes to 100 countries

Citrus Growers Association media statement

The citrus growers from Southern Africa will export a record crop of close to 137m boxes of citrus fruit to more than 100 countries this year.

The rise in exports should translate into job opportunities, more foreign exchange revenue and a growing economy.

This provisional export estimate was presented to the Citrus Marketing Forum – a body representing citrus growers and exporters. The final numbers will be published on Friday 15 March 2019.

The higher export crop represents an increase of 0.7%  year-on-year.

“The citrus industry has enjoyed two record crops for the export market in succession. Last year’s crop yielded a revenue of nearly R19 billion,” said Justin Chadwick, CEO of the CGA.

The interim results were announced at the Citrus Summit held in Port Elizabeth over two days. Some 600 delegates, including citrus growers, economists and business people, are attending this year’s event.

The main drivers of growth are in the soft citrus and lemon categories. However, the net growth in these categories is somewhat muted due to a 3% decline in Valencia oranges.

Valencia oranges make up the biggest portion of the citrus export market at 39%, followed by navel oranges (20%), lemons (16%), soft citrus (13%) and grapefruit (12%).

Chadwick ascribed the increase to the resilience of the citrus industry and its ability to adapt to technological changes and overcome challenges.

“Our local citrus industry is one of the country’s most important fruit groups by value and volume. It yields a revenue of over R20bn per year of which 92% comes from exports, and provides jobs to more than 100,000 people,” he said.

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