Madagascar: Lychee quality down due to lack of rain

The 2016-2107 lychee season officially began on the 12th November in the Antsinanana and Analanjirofo regions and will go on until January. Madagascar’s lychee production reaches about 100,000 tons annually, of which 55% is from the Antsinanana and Analanjirofo regions. 30,000 farming families and 3,000 fruit collectors in the two regions depend on the lychee sector. 

Operators in the two regions plan to increase sea exports to 20,000 tons for the 2016-2017 season compared to 17,846 tons in 2015-2016 and 16,493 tons in 2014-2015. However, a lack of rain in these two regions could effect the season and a decrease in quality has already been remarked. September and October were marked by a clear decrease in rainfall with more dry periods than last year.

Malagasy lychees must respect the regulations of the international market in order to be exportable. Each fruit must measure 30mm in diameter. The residual levels of sulphur must also be respected. For example, to enter the European market, the fruit must contain less than 10mg/kg of sulphur residue in the flesh and less than 250mg/kg in the shell. 70% of lychees on the European market come from Madagascar and Europe is the main destination for Malagasy lychees: notably France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. 28.4% of lychees on the European market are from South Africa and almost 1% from neighbouring islands such as Mauritius and Reunion. 

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