Southern African citrus growers exported 161.6 million boxes equivalent to 15 kg of local citrus in 2021. This was 18.6 million boxes more than last year, despite several logistical challenges. during the season.
According to agricultural economist Dr Kobus Laubscher, success in terms of exports has enabled the citrus industry to make a valuable contribution to improving the South African economy. Exports, he said, have added to trade surpluses, the development of rural economies and job creation.
âThis is why it is crucial that provisions be made in the Master Plan for Agriculture and Agribusiness for a policy environment favorable to agriculture. We need to make it easier for producers, such as citrus growers, to invest and reinvest in agriculture and expand their farming activities.
âThe South African government must act boldly and create a policy environment conducive to improved agricultural production and, among other things, access to global markets,â he added.
The increase in exports was achieved despite several challenges that arose during the season.
Paul Hardman, acting CEO of the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa, pointed out that current challenges in the country’s ports were intensified by civil unrest in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in mid-July , which resulted in the port of Durban being closed for days.
This was followed by Transnet declaring force majeure at all ports following a cyberattack, which coincided with the peak of the citrus export season.
âWith these challenges in mind, the fact that the local industry achieved another record-breaking export season in 2021 was truly remarkable.
“This has only been possible through the close collaboration and partnerships within industry and with government, and the extraordinary efforts of producers,” added Hardman.