South Africa’s 2020 citrus export season has gotten off to a good start despite logistical challenges caused by the COVID-19 lockdowns in South Africa and in other countries. According to Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa, a strong increase in global demand for citrus has so far been evident in the 2020 export season.
Gert Upton, marketing and sales representative at Schoonbee Landgoed, which produced citrus fruit among other commodities near Groblersdal in Limpopo, said countries in the Northern Hemisphere, such as Spain and Italy, had supplied lower volumes of citrus to the global market due to harvesting challenges.
“As a result of the coronavirus disease [COVID-19] pandemic lockdowns, there has seen a shortage of labourers, who mostly come from North African countries such as Morocco. Another reason for the increase [in demand] is the international drive for healthy foods to boost immune systems. Lemons fall in the category of Vitamin C products, which is an immune booster,” said Upton.
Chadwick said he was confident that the local citrus industry would be able to meet demand, and in March, export figures for Southern Africa reached a record 143,3 million cartons of citrus fruit.
“South African farmers also began harvesting lemons earlier (in April), as opposed to in May,” he said.
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