South African citrus exports to fall 5% -

South African citrus exports to fall 5%

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South African citrus exports to fall 5%

South Africa's citrus exports will likely decline 5% in 2010-11 due to hailstorms in the Grobersdal and Marble Hall regions, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) report.

The Republic of South Africa Citrus Semi-annual reported while Navel orange yields had been affected by the storms, increases were expected for grapefruit and soft fruit production.

"The area planted to citrus is expanding regardless of the increasing cost of establishing new orchids on growing demand for SA citrus in the United States, growing at 10 percent annually," the report said.

"The industry is receiving foreign direct investment from companies like Sunkist to help supply growing markets. U.S. retailers like Wal-mart and Wholefoods are sourcing fruit from SA as well.

"SA exported grapefruit to the United States for the first time in 2010 following the USDA’s recognition of several SA production areas as free of citrus black spot disease."

Orange exports are expected to fall 11% to 930,000MT, with a consumer shift from traditional European markets to Russia and the Middle East.

"Industry officials posit that these markets have recovered from the global recession, while sluggish demand persists in Europe, UK, and Japan."

The report forecast grapefruit exports to rise 18% to 221,000MT, soft citrus exports should grow 6% to 120,000MT, while lemon exports will remain flat at 146,000MT.

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