• Consumers in the Philippines will, for the first time this year, find South African citrus on shelves.
  • Exports to that country have been a decade in the making.
  • Citrus exports are now expected to hit 158.7 million cartons of oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and navels this year.
  • On top of the new market in the Philippines, increased exports are expected to Eswatini and Zimbabwe.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

South African citrus growers now expect to export as many as 158.7 million cartons of fruit in 2021. And, for the first time ever, some of those fruit will end up on shelves in the Philippines.

Several South African agricultural sectors are seeing a remarkable year. For citrus, local consumption will absorb some of the huge harvest, but new export markets will help, said Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers’ Association.

The Bureau of Plant Industry in the Philippines recently signed the final administrative agreement that allows South African citrus to be imported.

The agreement comes after more than a decade since the South African citrus industry began negotiating to gain entry into the Philippines market, a nation of 108 million people.

“[I]mporters in the Philippines can now happily apply for permits to receive South African fruit into the Philippines,” said Chadwick.

Export volumes are projected to be high across different types of fruit, with an increase of 29% expected in soft citrus, an increase of 16% expected in grapefruit, and Valencia oranges exports expected to be up 5%.

Lemons and navel oranges, on the other hand, are expected to see only marginal export increases.

Exports to Zimbabwe and Eswatini are expected to grow a combined 13%, to 4.4 million cartons.

The association expects continued growth in volumes, and forecasts R6.8 billion in foreign exchange earnings over the next three years. 

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