This year, the South African industry estimates it will send 21,000 metric tons of Navel oranges to the United States, compared to last year’s 31,000 metric tones.
According to Mark Greenberg, CEO Capespan North America, much of this has to do with how the market was last year.
“Last season presented a very challenging Southern Hemisphere citrus market in the USA on almost all products, but especially on Navel oranges and late season mandarins,” he explained. “One impact that this will have will be a reduction in South African navel orange volumes to the USA.”
The market, however, is not expected to be short, as there will be plenty of volume from South America and Chile.
Volume of late mandarins continue to grow
Observers have noted that both South Africa and Chile are planting more late season mandarins. With Peru and Chile being strong players in the market and more volumes predicted to arrive from South Africa in the coming years, marketers will be kept busy as they seek out sustained strong prices.
“The result of this is going to be the need to spread these increased volumes over more markets,” he said. “While South African easy peelers (both summer clementines and late mandarins) have been a fixture in the US market for many years, this market is likely going to be called upon to handle more of this excellent and high value fruit. As South Africa adds its volume to the North American market, along with the production from Chile’s new plantings, there is going to have to be a re-calibration of expectations and a reallocation of export destinations among shippers from all origins.”
Continued focus on domestic summer fruit
Summer citrus has become an increasingly important retail item for US retailers.
“Summer citrus has become a standard offering at all US retailers,” Greenberg concluded. It remains, however, that summer citrus competes for retail shelf space with domestic summer fruit and that serious retail interest on imported citrus only gets started when the US retail trade can no longer source satisfactory product from domestic sources.
“With the lessons learned from last season, South African shippers are taking a prudent approach which will likely serve them well. So, we expect a strong and stable summer citrus season from South Africa.”
Source: Fresh Plaza