South Africa Citrus Estimate Higher Than Last Year

Josh McGillCrop Forecast, International

The latest estimate for the South Africa citrus crop in 2023 is 165.6 million cartons. This is 800,000 more cartons than last year, The Vanguard International Group recently reported.

South Africa

Vanguard stated that two commodities — lemons and mandarins — have emerged over the past few years. Lemons have witnessed a significant surge in plantings. There are approximately 8,000 hectares of lemon trees that are less than six years old. Of those, approximately 1,750 hectares are four years old or younger. There are approximately 13,500 hectares of mandarin orchards that are six years or younger, with around 7,300 hectares of that being four years or younger.

All indications point to slightly larger fruit size this season.

Lemon packing began in week 4 of the season, and over 9 million cartons of lemons have already left South Africa since then. The Eastern Cape started packing large volumes of lemons. Supply is good at this stage.

As of week 18, grapefruit packing is already 30% complete with 3.7 million cartons packed so far. The peak sizes for grapefruits range from 40 to 45 and 50.

The packing process for navels has just begun. The higher-than-normal rains in Limpopo and Mpumalanga have caused a slowdown in the packing of these oranges. Nevertheless, volume is expected to pick up quickly.

The first Turkey Valencias are set to start in week 22, with the bulk volume becoming available from week 24 on. The size of Valencias is expected to be ideal for markets seeking larger fruit. The earliest start for Midnights is projected to be around week 26, with bulk volumes anticipated in week 28.

Over the next five years, Vanguard anticipates significant growth in soft citrus and lemon production. Valencia oranges are expected to continue with normal growth, but there is an anticipated decline in grapefruit and more traditional navel oranges.

Source: The Vanguard International Group

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