South Africa’s citrus exports 3.7% higher than last year

Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has handled 3.7% more citrus exports this year despite the floods and farmers having been dealt a blow when the European Union (EU) imposed immediate new restrictions on South African (SA) imports in July. In total, TPT moved 128 374 forty-foot equivalent units (FEU) across its container terminals in Durban, Ngqura, Gqeberha and Cape Town.

The country’s peak citrus season began in April and ended in September – with a total of seven terminals exporting citrus fruit from the Limpopo, Free State, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Western Cape and North West provinces to over 100 countries mainly within the European Union (EU), Far East, and United States of America (USA). Volumes handled in the Eastern Cape terminals were particularly higher this year.

South Africa (SA) ranks 16th in world fruit production, accounting for over 50% of the country’s overall agricultural exports according to Fruits SA. Citrus fruit make up 55% of all fruit produced nationally with oranges as the biggest citrus type. This is a total contribution of about R43 billion annually to the country’s gross domestic product. In the world, SA is the second largest exporter of citrus fruit.

TPT General Manager: Commercial and Planning Michelle van Buren Schele said, “South African farmers have done exceptionally well considering the disruption we experienced in citrus exports mid-season because of the false codling moth, which is native to SA but considered a quarantine pest in the EU”. She added that while volumes were higher this year compared to last year, it was a season that had potential to do better.