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US, Middle East, Asia and Africa becoming increasingly significant markets for South African citrus

The South African 2014 MY total citrus exports are forecast to rise as a result of increases in production and a weak exchange rate. South Africa achieved record orange exports to the United States at 40,576 MT in the 2013 MY. The
impact of the stricter EU regulations on South African citrus imports, is anticipated to start showing in the 2015 MY according to a report from the USDA.

The 2014 MY, South African production of lemons, and soft citrus is expected to increase by eighteen percent and nine percent, to 270,000 MT and 160,000 MT, respectively, on the basis of good growing conditions and increases in area planted. 2014 MY production of oranges is forecast to increase marginally by three percent to 1,600 million MT and orange juice by three percent to 29,970 MT. The 2014 MY grapefruit production is forecast to decrease by ten percent to 391,000 MT due to the annual cyclical fluctuations of grapefruit production.

The forecast is for increases in the 2014 MY exports of oranges (two percent), soft citrus (six percent), lemons (15 percent) and orange juice (23 percent) based on the equivalent increases in production and the weak rand exchange rate. Grapefruit exports are forecast to decrease by seven percent based on the annual cyclical decrease in grapefruit production.

Europe remains the largest export market for South African fresh citrus, and accounted for the following in the 2013 MY; grapefruit (46 percent), oranges (40 percent) and soft citrus (66 percent). Other regions such as the Middle East, Asia and Africa are also becoming increasingly significant markets for South African citrus exports. The Middle East accounted for 41 percent of the South African lemon export market in the 2013 MY. The growth in other markets is expected to continue in the coming seasons following the decision by the European Union Commission on May 27, 2014 to impose stricter regulations on South African citrus imports.

South African exports of fresh oranges to the United States under the duty free AGOA reached a record high of 40,576 MT. This is a massive increase, given that exports to the United States were about 290 MT in the 1996 MY and 25,619 MT in the 2007 MY.

Forecasts are that the 2014 MY imports of citrus will remain flat based on a static domestic consumption and sufficient domestic production to supply the local market. Imports are mainly to cover for out of season demand usually toward the end of the year.

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