South Korea to inspect SA's grapefruit, lemons
South Korean officials were expected to arrive in South Africa this morning for an inspection tour that could pave the way for grapefruit and lemon access, according to Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa CEO Justin Chadwick.
"We’ve already got access to the South Korean market for sweet oranges and some time ago we made the application to extend that to all citrus fruits, including grapefruit, lemons and soft citrus - that would have been four or five years ago now, or even longer," Chadwick told www.freshfruitportal.com.
"We have been ready for them and finally we got a letter back saying they’re looking to revise the protocol to include grapefruit and lemons, and send two officials to South Africa to inspect the orchards, the pack houses and all the facilities.
"They asked us to send an itinerary and we recommended the last week of June and the first week of July, so they said, ‘we’re coming next week’. It's been quite hectic but it’s all in place now."
He said the itinerary would start with farm visits in the Onderberg region between Nelspruit and the Kruger National Park, followed by farm visits in Nelspruit and then Durban, where the industry already exports its oranges to South Korea.
"We are all ready to do it in terms of the protocol if they’re happy with what they see here. It will just add to our sweet oranges so it doesn’t require a new set of protocol.
"All the phytosanitary issues are covered. They would need to do a briefing with our department of agriculture and have a final meeting, and if that all goes well and they’re happy with what they’ve seen, we believe the protocol should be in place by next year."
He said exporters have already received interest from South Korea for grapefruit, while lemons also showed potential.
"On the grapefruit side, there are exporters who have received interest from South Korea so we believe there will be volumes to go into that market.
"But grapefruit for the far eastern palate is an acquired taste – they tend to prefer a much sweeter taste. We don’t see it being a mammoth market like Japan.
"On the lemon side we’ve got a lot of potential there; it won’t be huge but it would be an important outlet for volumes for us."
Photo: Zorica of Malibu