Soft Citrus Climbs in South Africa

Ernie NeffInternational

Production of tangerines/mandarins in South Africa is expected to continue its aggressive growth and is estimated to increase by 8% to 500,000 metric tons in 2020-21. Tangerines/mandarins are referred to as soft citrus. High levels of new plantings in recent years contributed to the production increase, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service reported in June.

The area planted to tangerines/mandarins is estimated to increase by 10% to 26,000 hectares. This is due to growers responding to increasing global demand for seedless tangerines/mandarins and to high margins from soft citrus relative to other citrus types.

CITRUS UNDER NETTING
There is a growing trend of farmers aggressively establishing new orchards under netting, USDA/FAS reported. That practice has improved water efficiency, yields and the overall quality of soft citrus production.

CONSUMPTION
The consumption of tangerines/mandarins in South Africa is estimated to increase by 7% to 29,000 metric tons in 2020-21. A surge in demand has been driven by the health benefits of citrus in the face of COVID-19. The industry prioritizes export markets for soft citrus and only supplies surplus fruit to the local market.

TRADE
The export of tangerines/mandarins is estimated to increase by 7% to 415,000 metric tons. Demand for soft citrus remains strong in the export markets. The United Kingdom accounts for 23% of exports, followed by the Netherlands (21%), United States (8%), Russia (8%) and the United Arab Emirates (6%).

Exports to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) have grown by an average of 35% per year over the past four seasons. Exports to the U.S. have climbed from 7,444 metric tons in 2013-14 to 32,458 metric tons in 2019-20. This growth trend is expected to continue based on the rising U.S. market preference for easy peelers and continued duty-free market access under AGOA.

See the full USDA/FAS report on South Africa.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service

 

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