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    SA's navel orange exports adjusted downward by 14.5%

    Following a meeting of the Orange Focus Group this week, the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa (CGA) has decided to lower its orange export estimates. The new projection for the number of 15kg cartons of navel oranges expected to be exported is 22 million. This marks a substantial 14.5% decrease from the initial estimate of 25.6 million cartons at the start of the season.
    Source: Racool_studio via
    Source: Racool_studio via Freepik

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    The new estimate also represents a 11% decrease from last year, when South Africa packed a total of 24,8 million cartons of Navels for shipping to foreign markets.

    Factors influencing the adjustment

    "There are several factors which necessitated the adjustment to the current season's estimates. Local citrus juicing prices are currently high, and many growers are taking advantage of this," says Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Association of Southern Africa.

    "Fruit sizes are also somewhat smaller due to the warm and dry weather experienced in large parts of the country. This means there are more individual fruits packed into a 15kg carton relative to last year. Severe winds have also caused some fruit to drop from trees in the Western Cape and hail damage has been experienced in certain parts of the Senwes (Groblersdal and Marble Hall) region.

    "An increase of Egyptian oranges in the European market also plays a role. Even though Egypt is counter-seasonal to South Africa, more Egyptian oranges (as they are at present) in the European market does impact early season demand," continues Chadwick.

    Navels 17% of SA citrus exports

    The projected export figure of 15kg cartons of Valencia oranges has also been reduced to just over 56 million, which is a 4% reduction from the estimate at the beginning of the season. It is, however, early in the Valencia season and a further reduction is possible.

    Last year South Africa packed 52 million cartons of Valencias for shipping to foreign markets. Valencias make up approximately 31% of total citrus export volumes.

    "It is important to note that the overall increase in orange production in South Africa is set to continue on a gradual growth trajectory for the next ten years. However, a larger 2024 crop does not necessarily mean that an excessive volume of oranges will be shipped to export markets, making the risk of over-supply low," concludes Justin Chadwick.

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