Europe eager for early South African navel exports

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Europe eager for early South African navel exports

South African navel orange exporters are gaining strong prices in Europe thanks to a shortage of late fruit from Spain and Morocco.

Grown4U chief executive officer Snyman Kritzinger, said because these countries had finished earlier than normal with late navels, supermarkets were changing quickly to South African imports.

"Europe is very strong, and the U.K. too, especially for bigger sized fruit. We are getting higher prices than last year."

He said larger-sized navels with a count of 64 or bigger, were fetching €12-14 per 15 kilogram carton on the wholesale market, compared with €10-12 last year.

Colors Fruit marketing manager for citrus Nico Veldsman agreed there was a lack of Spanish late navels and Valencias in the European market.

"There's very little around and the fruit which is available is of a poor quality. Normally, there's a lot of fruit from Spain but this year the market is almost empty. There's a good opportunity for a short window."

He added that the quality of late navels and Valencias from Morocco also wasn't good.

Kritzinger said while South African fruit quality was high this season, in general the crop had more smaller sized fruit than normal, particularly in the Western Cape.

Rain last week had delayed harvesting of the last of South Africa's Navels which Veldsman said could be a good thing in terms of gaining larger sizes.

"The dry and hot weather means the fruit doesn't have that long to mature on the trees otherwise the quality is affected."

The last of the Eastern Cape Navels are expected to be collected by the end of next week with the Western Cape a few weeks behind.

Related stories: SA Western Cape navel shipments to the U.S. set to climb

SA growers speed up navel picking to avoid 'creasing'

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