As we grow closer to the end of the season, all indications are that South African citrus exports are expected to continue growing aggressively, reaching record levels in this year. While the final export data will only be out towards the end of the year, the expectation is that exports will grow by 17% year on year this season.
In a year that was especially hard on exports, citrus is set to defy the odds as export figures are expected to fall just shy of the 150 million cartons mark. The official figure released by the citrus growers’ association body, now stands at a projected 148.8million, which is approximately 20 million cartons more than last year’s officially packed figure of 127.5 million.
If we take a closer look at production volumes, citrus fruit is the largest fruit industry in South Africa, which is mainly focussed on the export market. The South African citrus industry is the largest citrus exporter in the Southern Hemisphere and accounts for more than 60% of Southern Hemisphere citrus exports. In addition to that, South Africa is the second biggest citrus exporting country, second only to Spain.
The citrus industry was able to bypass all challenges and setbacks that came as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak at the peak of the citrus season. They managed to quickly put measures in place to contain the crisis and emerge on the other side, reaching peak export volumes.