South African citrus growers have often bemoaned Europe’s regulations on the import of their product. The industry abides by the measures rigorously and meticulously, knowing what is at stake if it doesn’t comply. That bitter-sweet experience, coupled with unyielding focus, has come in handy and ensured resilience amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The South African citrus industry’s quest to quench the European Union (EU) market’s thirst for its produce unencumbered by bureaucracy remains elusive.

But the EU’s emergency measures to prevent the occurrence of citrus black spot (CBS), delivered through regulations designed to restrict access, have been both a blessing and a curse.

For the current season underway, local citrus growers have had a bumper yield. The proof is in the quantities of tonnage being packed for shipping to the Far East and Europe.

At last count, the industry predicts it will pack 140 million tonnes in 2020. So far, it has packed 73 million tonnes. In 2019, it packed 127 million tonnes of grapefruit, soft citrus, lemons, and navel and Valencia oranges.

Furthermore, the industry’s forecasts show that 2020’s exports will outperform 2019’s shipped quantities considerably.

However, South African citrus growers are still faced with those emergency CBS measures imposed…



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