Fresh orange production in South Africa is forecast to grow by 6 percent to 1.6 million tons in 2021/22. This boost is based on the growth in harvested area and above-average rainfall throughout the season in the main growing regions. The latter has ensured that there has been sufficient irrigation water and has provided conditions conducive to growth. Oranges are normally harvested between March and September, and the impact of COVID-19 on production, harvesting, and labor has been minimal to date.
The production and yield of oranges have grown marginally since 2017/18, due to industry shifts to soft citrus production. South Africa is forecast to be the eighth largest producer in 2021/22 behind Brazil, China, the European Union, Mexico, the United States, Egypt, and Turkey, continuing a trend of the past 7 years.
The orange area harvested is forecast to grow by 2 percent to over 43,000 hectares in 2021/22, from 42,360 hectares in 2020/21, based on the increase in area harvested of seedless orange varieties and late maturing varieties. This rise will be partially offset by the industry shift from orange production to soft citrus in the Western Cape and Limpopo growing regions. Limpopo is the leading growing region for oranges accounting for 48 percent of the total area planted, followed by the Eastern Cape (26 percent), and Western Cape (15 percent).
Valencia oranges account for about two-thirds of the total area planted and Navel’s account for the other one-third. The predominant variety planted is the Midnight accounting for 25 percent of the total area planted, followed by the Valencia Late variety at 12 percent, and Delta at 10 percent.