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Orange prices already dropping

South Africa: Trouble ahead for citrus market due to Durban port jam

Prices for oranges have dropped a little already because of the export constraints caused by a bottleneck at Durban port. Volumes going to fresh produce markets increased significantly.

Prices for the fruit increased to R3.08 per kilogram last week after the Citrus Growers' Association instructed farmers in the northern parts of the country to halt harvesting and packing fruit in an attempt to ease the pressure from the logjam at Durban port. Dr Johnny van der Merwe, managing director of agricultural information group Agrimark Trends reported that growers dumped oranges at fresh produce markets, with volumes increasing by as much as 13% in one week.

"In the citrus market, the latest orange prices decreased to R3.08 per kilogram where volumes delivered to local markets increased by 13% week on week; mostly due to logistical issues and export constraints," Van Der Merwe said.

In the previous week, oranges sent to fresh produce markets were already decreasing, given the fruit's season has begun to phase out. Oranges delivered had declined 7%, he added. Last week, the CGA and Fresh Produce Exporters Forum (FPEF) issued a notice to growers delivering citrus to Durban port, asking them to suspend packing until Thursday, 12 August.  The citrus association said it doesn't expect the suspension of the harvesting to create a glut and noted that some fruit has continued to be shipped to key markets across the world.

"Citrus growers heeded our call to suspend harvesting and packing last week; the number of trucks headed to the port of Durban was significantly reduced to help ease congestion," Justin Chadwick, CEO of the association, told

He said there had not been additional requests to extend the suspension of packing or harvesting, stating that the CGA would be meeting with all relevant role-players on Friday to re-assess the situation.

[ R1 = €0.057 ]

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