S.Africa Citrus Exports Set to Rise Despite Infrastructure Crisis

April 2, 2024

© donvictori0 / Adobe Stock
© donvictori0 / Adobe Stock

South Africa expects to increase citrus exports this year as younger trees begin to produce and help to offset the impact of infrastructure challenges and higher input costs, the national growers' association said on Tuesday.

The world's second biggest citrus exporter after Spain is battling an electricity crisis caused by the frequent breakdown of its ageing coal-fired power plants.

Freight rail and port inefficiencies due to a lack of investment at state-owned logistics firm Transnet has also frustrated South African commodity exports.

But a 12% increase in valencia orange exports to 58 million cartons and a 14% jump in grapefruit shipments to 16.7 million cartons, partly driven by supplies to China, are expected to increase deliveries into global markets this year, Citrus Growers' Association of Southern Africa (CGA) president Justin Chadwick said in a statement.

South Africa, which shipped 165.1 million cartons of citrus fruit last year, also faces challenges linked to the European Union's regulations requiring enhanced cold treatment for citrus exports because of concerns over the False Codling Moth (FCM), a pest commonly found in sub-Saharan Africa, and fungal disease Citrus Black Spot.

The CGA is pressing South Africa's government to call for the establishment of an independent panel to adjudicate the country's first WTO dispute complaint lodged in 2022 against the EU's FCM measures.

The industry body has also asked the South African government to lodge another WTO complaint against the EU over the citrus black spot regulations.


(Reuters - Reporting by Nelson Banya; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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