South African Orange Crop to Increase

Josh McGillInternational, Oranges

South African orange production is forecast to grow 3% in 202223, to almost 1.7 million metric tons (MMT), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA FAS). 

South African
Midknight is South Africa’s predominant orange cultivar.

Oranges represent approximately 47% of South Africa’s 100,000 hectares of citrus orchards. Orange acreage grew by almost 14% over the past seven years.

The Limpopo province is the leading growing region for oranges, accounting for 48% of the total orange area. It is followed by the Eastern Cape (23%) and Western Cape (14%) provinces.

Valencias account for two-thirds of total orange area, with navels accounting for the other third. The predominant cultivar planted is Midknight, representing 25% of total area, followed by the Valencia Late (10%), Delta (9%) and Turkey (7%) cultivars. Other cultivars planted in South Africa include Bennie, Palmer, Cambria, Bahianinha and Washington.

South Africa’s orange exports are forecast to grow by 3% in 2022–23, reaching a record level of 1.4 MMT. Oranges account for more than half of South Africa’s total citrus exports.

The country exports oranges to more than 100 countries, but the European Union remains its largest export market, accounting for almost 40% of total orange exports. China is now South Africa’s second largest market for oranges after growth of almost 40% in 2021–22.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has had a limited effect on South Africa’s exports of oranges to Russia. In 2020–21, South Africa exported 86,289 MT of oranges to Russia, representing 7% of total orange exports. In 2021–22, exports to this market grew by 6%.

South Africa’s orange exports to the United States are expected to continue to grow. Exports of oranges to the United States increased to a record of 53,121 MT in 2019–20 but fell back slightly to 47,500 MT in 2020–21, due to global logistical challenges. However, in 2021–22, orange exports to the United States reached another record level of 53,284 MT.

The import of oranges to South Africa is estimated to remain flat at about 4,000 MT in 2022–23, based on available local supply.

See the full USDA FAS annual report on South African citrus here.

Source: USDA FAS

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