South African citrus delivers record-breaking export season
Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer has applauded the record-breaking export season by the citrus industry, stating that it is good news for the Western Cape economy, enabling thousands of jobs.
As confirmed by the CEO of the Citrus Growers Association of Southern Africa, Justin Chadwick, South Africa exported 146 million cartons of fruit in 2020.
Minister Meyer said: "I am delighted by the great export performance and growth in this industry in our Province. Citrus farming is creating thousands of new jobs and the recent investments in this industry is also creating economic value further down the value chain as around 82% of the citrus harvest gets exported.”
Agricultural economists in the Western Cape Department of Agriculture highlighted that while only 18% of South Africa’s citrus is located in the Western Cape, this Province had the second largest area expansion in citrus in 2019, growing by more than 600 additional hectares. Furthermore, the growth in plant material purchases suggests that plantings have increased by around 19% per annum over the five years since 2014.
The Western Cape was the leading soft citrus producer in South Africa in 2019 with 7 461 hectares planted. In contrast, the total citrus hectares stood at 16 205.
Agricultural economist, Louw Pienaar, estimates that the citrus expansion in the Western Cape has created around 4 000 additional fulltime-equivalent jobs on farms between 2014 and 2019.
"Growing the citrus export base from the Western Cape will continue to make a major economic impact. We will continue to look for greater market access opportunities and build on the close collaborations and partnerships within the industry," concludes Meyer.