2018 Valencia seasonal review:

Record Valencia crop gives southern African citrus exporters a full house of records

The record Valencia crop gives southern African citrus exporters a full house of records in terms of volumes packed and passed for export. The 2018 final packed figure of 54 million cartons slightly up on 2017’s 53.8 million.

The Valencia Focus Group did a great job in estimating the final volume packed (after being rapped across the knuckles in 2017)– with the packed actual being just 1% over the initial estimate of 53.9 million cartons.

Illustrating the advantage of the wide geographic distribution of citrus production in southern Africa – while some regions registered big declines in volumes packed against original estimate, other regions made up for the decline by packing more than estimate – thereby meeting importers requirements. Of the bigger Valencia regions, the Cape (Eastern and Western) experienced the greatest declines as a result of the dry conditions – Sundays Rivers 5.4 million cartons packed was 23% less than the estimated 7 million – and marginally lower than 2017’s 5.9 m. Western Cape at 3.9 m was 15% less than the estimated 4.6 m (and appreciably lower than 2017’s 4.9 m).

Hoedspruit at 5.4 m was 7% off the estimated 5.8 m (and less than 2017’s 6.2m), while Letsitele at 14.6 m was 4% less than estimated 15.2 m (2017 14 m). Making up for the shortfall was the increase in Senwes – From 5.9 m in 2017 it was estimated that the region would increase to 6m, but ended up packing 32% over estimate at 7.9 m.

• Brazil is blessed with a great climate for agriculture – it is world leader in production of sugar cane, coffee and oranges; number 2 in beef and soya bean and 3 in maize. Brazil produces almost 20 million tons of oranges – and yet only exports around 100 000 tons. About 90% of oranges are processed.

• Farming for juice is very, very different from farming for fresh fruit consumption. Brazil has some of the most devastating citrus diseases – Asian Greening (HLB) and Canker. In addition, they have citrus black spot (CBS). The focus of the research and production practices in Brazil is not to eliminate the disease or to produce disease free fruit. The aim is to keep the fruit on the tree so that it gets to maturity and contains sufficient juice of acceptable quality.

• One solution is buffer zones created around the border of the farms; these buffer zones are planted to citrus trees and receive full cover treatment for the phsyllid. As trees succumb to greening, they are replaced so that the buffer zone remains in place. It was noticeable that trees grown inside the buffer zone seemed to be healthy and in good production.

• Visiting Fundecitrus in Araranquera it is clear that they have some extremely bright, young minds working on their research. There is a close relationship with CRI in South Africa, and South African citrus researchers are held in the highest regard.

Packed and Shipped

For more information:
Justin Chadwick
Citrus Growers Association of Southern Africa
Tel: +27 83 654 9591
Email: justchad@iafrica.com 

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