The Valencia variety focus group has just adjusted the Valencia estimate for the season upwards with about a million x 15 kg cartons, to a final figure for the 2016/17 season of 49 million x 15kg cartons. This figure includes volumes from Zimbabwe and Swaziland. It should be noted that the revised estimate refers to the volume of packed Valencias – this amount won’t necessarily represent total Valencia exports.
The regions responsible for the positive re-adjustment were Letsitele, whose initial estimate of 11.8 million cartons has now been upped with a million cartons, with more modest increases from the Senwes region (5.4 million), Limpopo Valley (5.1 million) and Hoedspruit (5.9 million).
Letsitele, the largest Valencia region in South Africa, is still busy with approximately 3 million cartons still to be packed. In the southern production areas, Valencia volumes are depressed, primarily due to drought and an episode of exceptionally strong, hot winds in June which caused fruit drop of Valencias. In the Sundays River Valley, where the Valencia season is basically done, the season’s initial estimate of 6.5 million ends on 4.7 million cartons.
The Western Cape’s Valencia harvest has just started; there a figure of 4.5 million cartons is expected.
Valencia volumes are well up from last year’s 42 million cartons, but still not on par with the 52.7 million cartons produced during the 2014/15 season as the effect of the drought lingers.
The seedless Valencia cultivars like Midknights and Deltas from the northern regions this season obtained good size counts – counts 48 to 64 – which has offered a fair substitution alternative to make up for the shortfall in navel volumes. There has also been an increase in requests from the EU and China for citrus for processing purposes.
By the end of week 34, 36.8 million cartons of Valencias had been packed, of which 26 million have been shipped. Forty percent of shipped Valencias have gone to the EU, 16% to the Middle East, 14% to Hong Kong and China (where there has been an increase both in terms of total volume and market share). Russia has thus far taken 7% of South African Valencia volumes, Bangladesh 6% and the UK 4%.