Expectations for orange exports revised downwards

Henry

The Citrus Growers Association (SKV) adjusted its forecast for orange exports this week after a meeting with the orange focus group by 14.5% downwards.

At the start of the season, it was expected that 25.6 million 15 kg cartons of navel oranges would be exported. This has now been reduced to an expected 22 million 15 kg cartons.

Justin Chadwick, chief executive of the SKV, says the new forecast also represents a decrease of 11% from last year, when South Africa exported a total of 24.8 million cartons of navel oranges.

The adjustment is based on several factors.

“Local citrus juice prices are currently high and many producers are taking advantage of this. Fruit sizes are also somewhat smaller due to the hot and dry weather experienced over large parts of the country. This means that more individual fruit is packed in a 15 kg carton compared to last year.

“Strong winds also blew fruit from trees in the Western Cape and hail damage was experienced in certain parts of the Senwes region (Groblersdal and Marble Hall),” says Chadwick.

He believes the increase of Egyptian oranges in the European market also plays a role.

“Even though Egypt is anti-seasonal with South Africa, more Egyptian oranges in the European market has an impact on demand in the early season,” says Chadwick.

About 17% of all citrus exported from South Africa are navel oranges.

The estimated export quantity of Valencia oranges in 15 kg cartons has been reduced to just over 56 million, a drop of 4% from the first estimate made at the start of the season. A total of 52 million Valencia cartons were packed for export in South Africa last year. About 31% of all citrus exports are Valencia oranges.

The expectation is that South Africa’s orange production will gradually increase over the next decade.