Citrus sector celebrates record export season

1st February 2021 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Senior Contributing Editor Online

Industry organisation the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa (CGA) says South Africa had a record-breaking 2020 export season that delivered 146-million cartons of citrus to the rest of the world.

“These figures indicate phenomenal growth within the South African citrus industry, which remains the second-largest exporter of fresh citrus in the world after Spain.

"This achievement is the result of close collaborations and partnerships within the industry and with government and is testament to the quality of South African citrus fruit which is in demand all over the globe,” says CGA CEO Justin Chadwick.

The CGA further notes that a new citrus export levy was gazetted last month and that the organisation believes the levy will enable the citrus industry to grow its global market share even further through reinvesting grower funds into research, market access and transformation.

As a result, the organisation hopes to create even more jobs and bring in increased revenue for the country’s economy over the next four years.

CGA’s current estimates are that the citrus industry will increase its exports by another 300 000 t over the next three years.

The growth projections for soft citrus, lemons and Valencia oranges alone indicate an expected additional R6.8-billion in foreign exchange earnings and the creation of 22 250 sustainable jobs over the next three years.

“This is excellent news for the citrus industry and for South Africa as we start to emerge from the devastation of Covid-19. We are looking forward to playing our part in rebuilding the economy and putting South Africa back on a strong financial footing.

"To this end, we are committed to working with all our stakeholders and partners in government to open more international doors for our fruit.

"If we can continue to gain and expand access in key markets such as the European Union, the US, China and India, there is no reason why South Africa will not meet long-term industry projections to export 200-million cartons of citrus fruit within the next five years,” Chadwick enthuses.