The recently-launched World Citrus Organisation is set to expand its membership from seven to fourteen countries. Together, these countries represent 70% of global citrus exports – creating a powerful global platform for dialogue and action between the citrus-producing countries worldwide.
The WCO was formed in October when sector representatives from Argentina, Chile, Italy, Morocco, Peru, Spain, and South Africa agreed to join together to form a global citrus platform to increase coordination in the industry. Now, seven more countries – Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Egypt, Greece, Portugal, and the United States have agreed in principle to participate in the organisation.
The initiative has been led by the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa (CGA) and AILIMPO, the Spanish Lemon and Grapefruit Interbranch Association, and the WCO will be administered by Freshfel Europe, the European Fresh Produce Association.
South Africa’s leading role in the formation of the WCO reflects its importance as the second largest global exporter of citrus fruit. More importantly, the South African citrus industry brings R20 billion rand into the country and supports 120,000 jobs. The formation of the WCO is set to support further exports to the rest of the world, and create sorely needed local jobs and economic growth.
The WCO’s mission is to:
- Discuss common issues affecting citrus-producing countries;
- Exchange information on production and market trends, preparing for the horizon 2030;
- Foster dialogue on policy issues of common concern;
- Identify and promote Research and Innovation projects specific to the citrus sector;
- Liaise with public and private stakeholders on citrus-related matters to highlight the importance of citrus producers and the need for a fair return; and
- Promote the global consumption of citrus.
The next meeting, where the formalities for the foundation and future structure of the organization will be formalized, will take place in February 2020 at FruitLogistica in Berlin.