Agri Kultuur March/ Maart 2016 - Page 69

Grapefruit Grapefruit exports are expected to reach 12.4m cartons (15kg), down by twenty-three percent from 2015’s record export. Drought in the Letsitele and Onderberg areas and severe hail damage in Hoedspruit are the major factors behind the drop in volume, exacerbated by the fact that 2016 was to be an “off” year anyway in terms of the production cycle. Although fruit size distribution will favour the smaller counts, Grapefruit growers have indicated that they will continue to support initiatives which aim to respect the demands of each of their markets in terms of timing, volume and specification. Lemons Lemon exports from Southern Africa are expected to continue its growth trend, with an increase of seven percent estimated for 2016, translating into a total volume of 16.1m cartons. Most of the growth can be ascribed to new plantings coming into production, particularly in the Sundays River Valley and Senwes areas. Soft Citrus With many new orchards coming into production in 2016 soft citrus growers are expecting their total exports to grow by twelve percent to 11.2m cartons. The season is predicted to offer good availability on the bigger sizes and excellent eating quality from all regions. "Whilst the drought that has gripped large parts of the country has had a significant impact on the citrus export crop, it is clear that farmers prioritised their high value varieties with the limited water they have had available," said the spokesperson. "Some uncertainty as to the onward impact of the drought on the 2017 crop still exists, but with the arrival of late rain in the Northern areas and further evidence that the El Niño cycle has been broken, the picture looks far more positive now than a few weeks ago." Against this backdrop, Southern African citrus growers are cautiously optimistic about the prospects for the 2016 season and their continued ability to supply citrus fruits of the highest quality to discerning markets around the globe. Publication date: 3/23/2016 Copyright: www.freshplaza.com