South Africa citrus exports to grow in 2011 on Middle East demand, USDA says
According to the report the Middle East is South Africa’s fastest growing market for citrus and will help push exports of the fruit up 4% in 2011. New markets in the Far East and Middle East received a total of 1.5 million metric tons (MT) in 2010, the report said.
South Africa has been able to continue its leadership as a citrus grower worldwide despite increased competition. According to the USDA this is a result of industry decisions to adopt new popular varieties and improve management processes to ensure high quality fruit.
Another propeller of growth for the citrus industry is new found access to the US market in 2010 that allows Star Ruby grapefruit, Clementines and Navel oranges after regions were declared free of citrus black spot disease.
For 2011 production of Valencia and Navel oranges will edge up 3% in 2011 to 1.65 million MT due to good weather in citrus producing regions. Further production gains have been limited due to drought in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. The area planted with oranges will also gain 1% to reach some 40,000 hectares in 2011.
In terms of exports a 5% increase is expected to reach a total of 1.15 million MT. The main receivers for oranges will be the Netherlands and Russia.
South Africa’s grapefruit production will increase 8% in 2011 to reach 370,000 MT. The main varieties of Star Ruby and Marsh will see the benefit of the peak year of the alternating yield natural to the citrus crop.
The planted area of grapefruit will see a slight 1% rise to reach some 9,200 hectares in 2011 due to expanded market access to the US.
Exports of grapefruit will increase nearly 6% in 2011 to reach 200,000 MT on increased production. The makeup of grapefruit receivers is rapidly changing with Japan and the Netherlands the principal receivers in 2010, while other important receivers such as Italy and Canada have taken in a much smaller amount of the fruit compared to 2009.
The USDA sees the production of soft citrus increased 6% in 2011 to reach 180,000 MT as more trees come into their full bearing mode. South Africa’s soft citrus cultivars include clementines –the most popular- mandarins, naartjie and satsuma.
The planted area for soft citrus will grow 2% to 5,100 hectares in 2011 on growing demand from export markets.
Exports of soft citrus will increase 3.6% in 2011 to reach 145,000 MT, according to the report. The main receivers in 2010 have been the UK, the Netherlands and Russia.