Philippines’ fruitful diet lands SA a trade relation
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DURBAN - YEARS of negotiations have yielded fruit as South Africa shipped off citrus to the Philippines on Wednesday; the export was part of new trade relations.
“The Philippines has a market that is attractive for South African citrus. There is a large population, fruit is a big part of their diet, they are after healthy products and our citrus will fit perfectly into their eating habits,” said Justin Chadwick, the chief executive of the Citrus Growers’ Association of South Africa.
The negotiations took well over 12 years because of the complexity that came with trade agreements.
“Unfortunately, market access procedures are lengthy. Since we are exporting fresh produce, the processes are more complex.The receiving country wanted to ensure that it does not receive pests that may impact on domestic flora. For that reason, there are extensive technical exchanges that take place before a market is opened,” said Chadwick.
The Citrus Growers’ Association was at Durban Port on Wednesday for procedural inspections prior to the export of their first citrus to the Philippines.
Chadwick explained that seeing the first fruit being inspected as part of the protocol to export to the Philippines gave the Citrus Growers Association, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Citrus Research International, Perishable Produce Export Certification Agency and Fresh Produce Exporters’ Forum of South Africa, a sense of accomplishment.
According to Chadwick, the final export agreement was signed recently by the Department of Land Reform and Rural Development, Agriculture and the Philippines Bureau of Plants and Industry.
“This new market presents an export potential of 20000 tons of citrus fruit, with export earnings of close to R205 million annually. It will also translate into more desperately needed job opportunities at a time when Covid-19 has devastated many other industries and led to millions of job losses.”
He added that export volumes were projected to be high across different types of fruit, with an increase of 29% expected in soft citrus and an increase of 16% expected in grapefruit.
“Valencia oranges exports are expected to be up 5%. Lemons and navel oranges, on the other hand, are expected to see only marginal export increases,” he said.