The South African 2020 export season has shown a strong increase in the global demand for citrus. Currently the export volumes of lemons doubled that of 2019. Citrus growers Association (CGA) reported that Lemon packing and shipping has started early in 2020 and up until now 6 million cartons have been packed which is almost 25% of the predicted total.
To date the increased global demand of lemons has resulted to 5,1 million 15kg equivalent cartoons exported which is more than double the 2,1 million 15kg equivalent cartoons exported in 2019. Whereas, the bulk of shipment have been exported to the Middle East (64%).
A total of 1.2 million of the estimated 2 million cartoons of soft citrus have already been packed. Therefore, a total of 1 million cartons of soft citrus have been exported with a bulk of it destined for the UK (48%), Europe (29%) and Russia (21%). Only 700,000 cartons of grapefruit have been packed with a total of 637 thousand cartoons exported to date. Europe and South East Asia were the major importers of South Africa’s grapefruits constituting 45% and 29% respectively with the small percent going to other parts of the world.
Currently 24 thousand cartoons of oranges have been exported, all of them were exported to the Middle East. On the other side, despite the increase in global demand for citrus, there are many factors affecting the 2020 export season in South Africa which becomes costly for many producers. One of them being the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic due to the cost of harvesting, handling and packaging given all the mobility restrictions and hygiene measures implemented to prevent the spread of the disease.