South African lemon exports notch record, but prices "well below" last year

South African lemon exports notch record, but prices "well below" last year

South African lemon exports notch record, but prices

South African lemon exports hit a new record in 2021, but despite that achievement it has been a very challenging season for the industry.

Lemon volumes packing for exports was 31 million cartons in 2021, finishing 3% up on the March 2021 estimate of 30.2 million cartons.

"This has been a very tough lemon season given the range of logistics and market challenges growers and exporters have had to face," said Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers Association of Southern Africa (CGA).

"While export volumes are up this does not necessarily translate into better returns back to farms as the costs have increased significantly, the exchange rate moved against exporters and lemon prices well below 2020 values."

As with Grapefruit and Navels, the EU remains the number one import market at 166,000 metric tons (MT). The Middle East imports have declined from 143,000MT in 2020, to 140,000MT in 2021.

Russian imports increased from 35,000MT to 37,000MT, just ahead of  North-America with 24,000MT.

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