The Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa, CGA, is celebrating a record-breaking export season with 146 million cartons of fruit delivered to the rest of the world. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency
The Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa, CGA, is celebrating a record-breaking export season with 146 million cartons of fruit delivered to the rest of the world. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency

Record-breaking export season for South African citrus

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Feb 2, 2021

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Cape Town - The Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa, CGA, is celebrating a record-breaking export season with 146 million cartons of fruit delivered to the rest of the world, of which a sizeable number came from the Western Cape.

CGA chief executive Justin Chadwick said: “The Western Cape is responsible for about 23 million of the 146 million cartons.

“In 2019 our tree census showed 16 241 hectares under citrus in the Western Cape. There were 88 569 hectares nationally. The land in the Western Cape under citrus trees increased to 17 938 hectares in 2020, while nationally it reached 96 031 hectares.

“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.

“It is difficult to tangibly quantify the size and volume of the citrus exported last year, but if we were to stack 146 million cartons of fruit side by side, the line of cartons would span approximately 40 000km in length.

‘“This record-breaking export season follows the gazetting of the new citrus export levy last month, which we believe 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, we hope to create even more jobs and bring in increased revenue for the country’s economy over the next four years.

“Our current estimates indicate that the citrus industry is expected to increase its exports by another 300 000 tons 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.”

Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer poses with fruit from the Western Cape at a distribution centre in the Netherlands in a photo taken early last year. Picture supplied

Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer said: “I am delighted by the excellent export performance and growth in this industry in our province. The citrus industry is creating thousands of new jobs and economic value further down the value chain, where around 82% of fruit is exported worldwide.

“In my department, agricultural economists estimate that the citrus expansion in the Western Cape has resulted in creating 4 000 additional full time-equivalent jobs on farms between 2014 and 2019.

“Growing the citrus export base from the Western Cape will continue to have a significant economic impact. Therefore, we must continue to look for greater market access opportunities and build on the close collaborations and partnerships within the industry.”

Cape Argus

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