New agreement will boost shipments of South African oranges to the East

A new bilateral protocol has been established between South Africa and Vietnam, opening the Vietnamese market to South African oranges.

Oranges clustered together closeup Adobe

“This is good news ahead of the 2024 citrus export season, which will start to ramp up in April,” said the South Africa’s Citrus Growers’ Association (CGA) in a statement. 

“The South African Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) and the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa is pleased to announce the new protocol.”

The opening of the market offers an export potential of 15,000 tonnes of oranges for South Africa’s citrus growers. “This will mean that we can contribute to more job opportunities and revenue generation,” the CGA continued.

The historic protocol comes almost a decade after a change in Vietnamese import regulations necessitated a new protocol.

“DALRRD and the CGA have in that time worked together to make sure local citrus growers will benefit from increased market access,” it noted. ”The collaborative efforts were underpinned by extensive technical work provided by Citrus Research International, a subsidiary of the CGA.”

According to the statement, opening new export opportunities to drive export-led inclusive growth of the agricultural sector was part of the Department’s strategy and commitment to support farmers.

“Minister Thoko Didiza reaffirmed this position in 2023 when she addressed the CGA’s Citrus Summit, encouraging the industry players to work with the Department to expedite greater market access for citrus in the East.”

Phytosanitary arrangements have since been agreed by Vietnam and South Africa.

“A recent final adjustment was the removal of two pests from the official pest list,” the CGA explained. ”A new cold treatment protocol was set out in the phytosanitary import requirements document by the Plant Protection Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam.”

The opening of the Vietnamese market is a major breakthrough for the citrus industry, especially considering that South Africa has the potential to increase its exports from 165m to 260m cartons in the next eight years.

This, the CGA said, can happen if all role-players work together as envisioned in the Agriculture and Agro-processing Master Plan.

”DALRRD and the CGA wishes to express its gratitude to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam,” the industry body added. “A supply of our local oranges to Vietnam is in the interest of both the Vietnamese consumer and the South African citrus grower.”