Agri Kultuur March/ Maart 2016 - Page 68

Citrus News: Nichola Watson L ast week the Citrus Marketing Forum (CMF) of Southern Africa met in Johannesburg to consider the growers’ estimate for expected Southern African citrus exports in 2016 and concluded that, despite the adverse effects of the drought and hail experienced in key producing areas, the industry was well positioned to meet its market demands. It is expected that a total of 111.2 million cartons (15kg) of citrus will be packed and passed for export from citrus producers in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Swaziland in 2016. This is a decrease of six percent on the 2015 export crop. "General trends to be expected across most varieties for the season include excellent eating quality, smaller than average sizing and superior external appearance – all due to the warm and dry climatic conditions experienced during the past summer," said a spokesperson. Valencia Oranges Growers estimate the Valencia orange crop to be down by twelve percent from the record 52.7m cartons in 2015, to 46.4m in 2016. The areas of Letsitele, Senwes and Hoedspruit, which jointly produce almost fifty percent of all Valencia oranges from Southern Africa, have all highlighted the drought and hail damage as the major contributing factors to the reduction in volume. However, at the time of publishing, late rain has arrived in most of the Northern growing areas, which will have a positive effect on the crop, especially in regard to fruit size. Navel Oranges The Navel orange crop is estimated to be up by just over two percent to 25.1m cartons. Although Senwes was badly affected by the drought and hail and expected to be down by fourteen percent, the Eastern Cape growing regions of Sundays River Valley and Patensie will be up by seven- and nine percent respectively, with the Western Cape also expected to be up by as much as fourteen percent. Figures are millions of 15 kg equivalent cartons for comparison purposes and includes volumes from Swaziland and Zimbabwe