This past Saturday, 18 September, was the last day that Valencias and lemons from South Africa’s summer rainfall citrus black spot (CBS) regions were inspected by officials from the Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB) for export to the European Union.
Citrus black spot interceptions on South African citrus stand at 23 at the moment, a higher incidence than recent years after plentiful summer rains.
Growers in Limpopo and Mpumalanga say it’s been a difficult year on CBS because of climatic conditions, but point out that interceptions could have been far higher if it weren’t for the vigilance of growers and packhouses.
“Other markets (except the EU) as well as the CBS free production regions will not be affected by this termination,” notes the Directorate of Plant Health at the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. Regions free from CBS are the Western and Northern Cape, the Gamtoos Valley and Kat River regions of the Eastern Cape.
Mandarins are not affected by citrus black spot, therefore not affected by the suspension.
By the end of week 36, 30.3 million 15kg cartons of Valencias had been shipped worldwide, with 44 million cartons already packed, which is an indication of the congestion at Durban port. The estimate for the season is 55 million 15kg cartons, very close to last year’s exports.
The lemon campaign has almost concluded: 28 million 15kg cartons of the total estimate of 30.4 million 15kg cartons of lemons have been shipped.