A South African citrus export and distribution company has pushed through the chaos surrounding exports to Russia, maintaining trade relations. As a result, Pomona Fruit has benefited from a lucrative gap in the Russian market.
Owner Francois Hugo says that a window of opportunity was created when South Africa's citrus trade with Russia - the country's fifth biggest export market - was blocked due to the invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions.
"Unlike other export companies, our company's strategy was to push through the chaos instead of identifying alternative markets," says Hugo. "The other exporters who diverted left a gap in the market, thus creating a much higher demand for fresh produce."
Pomona Fruit, a fruit export company located in the Breede River Valley in the Western Cape, exports grapes, stone fruit and citrus to many global countries, including Ukraine and Russia.
Hugo claims to be closely monitoring the war and the subsequent impact on trade. He decided to keep on sending produce to Russia as long as marine and credit insurance remained available.
Overall, South Africa's total citrus exports to Russia have fallen by nearly 70% on a year-to-date basis compared with the same period last year. South Africa shipped 11.2 million 15 kg cartons of citrus fruit to Russia last year.