The country’s first seasonal forecast for soft citrus exports have emerged, with volumes pegged at 38m cartons

Details of South Africa’s soft citrus export forecast have emerged for the first time, indicating that total volumes will be around 38m cartons this year.

Generic mandarins Adobe

These figures reflect significant increases in the mandarin crop.

Growth is expected in the Nadorcott/Tango categories, which at an increase of 16 per cent will boost these to a total 24.1m cartons.

Leanri, a mid- to late-season variety, will contribute around 2.5m cartons and Orri another 2m cartons. Other mandarin types will contribute 2.7m cartons.

In announcing its first estimate some weeks ago, the South African Citrus Growers’ Association (CGA) said that other soft citrus types such as Satsumas (1.7m cartons), Clementines (5.4m cartons)  and Novas (4.5m) will also increase.

Lemons are still predicted to come in at at 37.9m cartons, 7 per cent higher than last year, and oranges at 25.6m cartons, up 4 per cent.

“After two years of suppressed Valencia orange exports, production is likely to improve in 2024 and return to the long-term trajectory,” Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers Association, had previously noted. ”This will result in an increase of 12 per cent to 58m cartons.”

Final export figures for Valencias could be affected by demand from the processing sector.

With the grapefruit export season now also underway, exports are also set to increase, back up to the long-term average. The 14 per cent growth forecast will move the category to 16.7m cartons.