With the increased plantings of lemons now starting to reach harvesting age it was anticipated that lemon packed for export volumes would surpass previous years – the Lemon Focus Group settled on an estimate of 16.1 million cartons (2015 15 m and 2014 13.2 m). This proved ambitious as the final packed for export volume equalled 2015’s record 15 million cartons. The Sundays River region (responsible for almost 2/3rds of southern African lemons) packed far less than estimate – mostly due to smaller sized fruit. The Senwes region (Groblersdal and Marble Hall) made a good recovery after a weather related poor crop in 2015 and packed above estimate.

The Middle East continued to dominate the lemon exports – increasing from 6.1m (2015) to 6.4 million cartons. Lemon exports from southern Africa to Europe and UK both increased substantially; for Europe from 2.3 m (2015) to 3.4 m; and for UK from 0.9 m (2015) to 1.3 million cartons in 2016. North America (0.5 m) and Africa (0.1 m) remained static. The biggest losers were Russia (down from 1.9 m in 2015 to 0.9 million cartons) and South East Asia (down from 2.5 m cartons in 2015 to 2 million cartons in 2016). – From the desk of Justin Chadwick, CEO of CGA, cga.co.za