If the Western Cape were a country, it would be the world’s fifth largest exporter of citrus fruits.
South Africa is currently the second biggest exporter of citrus in the world after Spain, accounting for 10% of the global market. The Western Cape currently exports the majority share of this, at 62%, making it the largest exporter of citrus fruit in the Southern Hemisphere.
Over 6% of the global market share of citrus was exported from the Western Cape in 2017. To put this in perspective, China and the USA, which hold the spots as the world’s third and fourth biggest exporters, hold global market share of eight percent and 7 percent respectively.
Most of the province’s exports are oranges (54% of all exports in 2017). However, soft citrus (19%) has shown excellent growth in the past ten years, and lemons and limes, which showed good growth between 2012 and 2015, have since tapered off considerably.
Europe is the biggest market for Western Cape exports, however, the market size has declined from 55% of all Western Cape citrus exports in 2008, to 47% in 2017. The Asian and Oceania markets however have made up the decline, growing from 34% in 2008 to 42% last year.
At a country level, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands are the biggest buyers of Western Cape citrus, however, citrus exports to China have shown remarkable growth.
The Chinese market is currently valued at R752 million, with 50.5% real annual growth recorded since 2008.
Exports to Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh and Portugal are also showing good growth, revealing good potential for new markets.
Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde said “Europe has long been a major destination for exports, but the growth we’re seeing in the Asian market is showing a new shift. This is especially positive news with the uncertainty around Brexit and what this means for European and UK exports.”
“Our Project Khulisa strategy has been to focus on growing the agricultural and agri-processing sectors, thereby creating new jobs. By developing new export markets for our produce, while still providing a world class product to our traditional markets, we can grow this economy. We’ve also been focused on growing our Halal exports, and the growth of citrus exports to countries like Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain is a positive step towards meeting this Project Khulisa goal.”
“Citrus farming also creates jobs in the winter months, once the harvest of the summer deciduous fruits and grapes has taken place, creating more employment opportunities for seasonal workers,” Minister Winde said.