South African citrus exports rise sharply to U.S.

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South African citrus exports rise sharply to U.S.

South African citrus exports have risen sharply to the U.S. this season, growing by between 15% and 38% year-on-year, according to industry group Summer Citrus from South Africa (SCSA)

Piet Smith, a member of the board of directors of SCSA, and a citrus producer and packager from Citrusdal in the Western Cape, said it became clear to them early in the season that consumers in the northern hemisphere wanted citrus products because they are a great source of vitamin C, News 24 reported.

It now appears that South Africa’s soft citrus such as naartjies and clementines are faring well, and oranges are particularly sought after by US consumers.

Cornel van der Merwe, chairperson of the Citrus Growers Association, and marketing and packaging director of the Komati Group, said the South African citrus industry expected to export about 140 million cartons this year, compared with 127 million last year.

Van der Merwe said the increase was thanks to the new cultivation of soft citrus and lemons that had begun bearing fruit.

Producer prices are also better than last season as a result of the favorable exchange rate and because South Africa’s competition, including Egypt and Spain, had an early end to their seasons because of adverse climate conditions.

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