The Citrus Fruit, Nut and Other Fruit Growing industry grows a range of produce, including citrus fruits, almonds, bananas, berries, avocados, olives and other fruits and nuts. Moreover, industry participants sell these products to food wholesalers, retailers, processors and other markets. Industry revenue is expected to grow at an annualised 0.6% over the five years through 2020-21, to $3.8 billion. Furthermore, export growth supported driven industry growth in the first half of the period. However, weak export revenue over the past two years due to reduced industrial output and limited international demand during the COVID-19 pandemic have limited revenue growth.
With fewer oranges going to China – a high-value market – in 2019, the average per kg export price for citrus fruits also eased off. However, the total export value still increased. Strong demand from China drove a standout performance for mandarin exports in 2019, which surged by 47 per cent in volume and 60 per cent in value. Nevertheless, China was not the only strong performer among the citrus markets. In fact, Japan held steady as Australia’s second largest-market on oranges in 2019, while markets that take smaller fruit all performed strongly.
Despite the strong export performance and bright future outlook, Daniels noted some competitive threats on the horizon, not least in the Philippines.
“Our understanding is that access for South African citrus to the Philippines is a done deal,” said Daniels. “Up until now, our main competition in the Philippines has come from Argentina, which supplied around 10,000 tonnes last year, but South Africa will would be very competitive in this market.”
Indeed, Daniels said South Africa represents a growing competitive force across Asia as its citrus export industry seeks to diversify its presence and reduce its reliance on traditional markets in Europe.
“The European citrus market is growing ever tougher for them with MRLs and other factors, and their motto is to ‘push east’, with big aspirations in markets like China and the Philippines. South Africa accounted for more than 200,000 tonnes of China’s citrus imports last year, and we saw the advent of specialised reefer shipments from South Africa into Japan and China.” Chile also secured access to China for citrus last year, Daniels noted, in a development that is expected to drive citrus plantings in the Latin American country.
Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)