An Orange Glow Over Exports

Simon Segal reports on booming fruit export markets

SOUTH Africa’s citrus exports are now expected by Outspan, the industry’s international marketing arm, to be a record 34 million 15kg cartons.

This should earn R1,4-billion and is three million cartons higher than last season at a value of

R1,2-billion, and two million more than the 1992 record.

By mid-July Outspan had already shipped half its expected export crop.

Outspan chief executive John Stanbury explains that the citrus season in the northern hemisphere ended earlier than usual and volumes were lower in South America.

Outspan exports 30 citrus fruit varieties, of which the largest are Valencia oranges (17-million cartons, 10 percent up on last season), navel oranges (8,5-million cartons, eight percent more than last season) and grapefruit (6,5-million cartons, 10 percent up). The two million lemon cartons are the same as last year.

The biggest growth is in “easy peelers” such as clementines, where output has doubled to 2,5-million cartons.

South Africa is the fourth largest citrus exporter in the world. Local deciduous fruit exporters are also having a successful season.

Exports, Unifruco estimates, should reach a record 44-million cartons this year and bring in R1,8-billion in foreign exchange.

Last year 37,3-million cartons earned R1,5-billion (of which farmers received around R700-million), down from the previous record year in 1992, when 41-million cartons were sent abroad and earned R1,7-billion, of which R985-million went to growers.

The industry is one of South Africa’s great export success stories. In 1988 export revenue was only R764-million, from 30-million cartons.

Unifruco projects exporting 52-million cartons by 1997 and some 100-million by the end of the century, earning nearly R5-billion in today’s prices and at today’s exchange rate.

This means fruit is challenging coal, platinum and ferroalloys as South Africa’s biggest export after gold.

It will also replace maize as the largest contributor to total agricultural earnings.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

2019: The ones who left us

From Uyinene Mrwetyana, Oliver Mtukudzi to Xolani Gwala, Mail & Guardian remembers those who have passed on

More battles ahead for domestic worker unions

Florence Sosiba, speaks to the Mail & Guardian about how important domestic workers are and exclusion in the COIDA

“Life has been good to me, considering where I come from” – Xolani Gwala

Just over a year ago, veteran radio presenter Xolani Gwala’s cancer was in remission. He spoke to the Mail & Guardian once he was back on air.

Kanya Cekeshe’s lawyer appeals decision not to grant him bail to the high court

Kanya Cekeshe’s legal team filed an urgent appeal at the Johannesburg high court on Tuesday against Monday’s judgment by magistrate Theunis Carstens.

Leader’s principal aim to build IFP

Gravitas: Velenkosini Hlabisa brings his experience to his new post as leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party.

Police Minister Bheke Cele addresses Jeppestown

Police minister Bheki Cele visited Jeppestown on Tuesday to speak to business owners and community leaders.

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Why anti-corruption campaigns are bad for democracy

Such campaigns can draw attention to the widespread presence of the very behaviour they are trying to stamp out — and subconsciously encourage people to view it as appropriate

Tax, wage bill, debt, pandemic: Mboweni’s tightrope budget policy statement

The finance minister has to close the jaws of the hippo and he’s likely to do this by tightening the country’s belt, again.

SA justice delays extradition of paedophile to UK

Efforts to bring Lee Nigel Tucker to justice have spanned 16 years and his alleged victims have waited for 30 years

Former state security minister Bongo back in court

Bongo and his co-accused will appear in the Nelspruit magistrate’s court in Mpumalanga over charges of fraud, corruption and theft

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday