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South Africa’s Citrus Exports to China Dwindle This Season

August 23, 2023

According to a South African news report, citrus exports from South Africa to China are significantly lower this season, although the decline has been offset by robust demand from the European market.

According to Neil Wan from Topsun Fresh, an importer of citrus into China, South African citrus exports to Europe have grown substantially with concomitant price increases. However, the performance of South African grapefruit on the Chinese market has been suboptimal and prices have fallen below the desired level. Chinese fruit dealers are more willing to pay high prices for premium navel oranges, particularly the Witkrans and Cambria varieties. Meanwhile, Valencia orange prices have remained stable at 140–180 Chinese yuan ($19.42–24.96) per carton, depending on variety and appearance. Despite a 30% increase in the volume of South African mandarins/tangerines exported to China this season, prices have fallen.

As early as the beginning of this season, the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa predicted that the citrus export volume for this season would be approximately 142 million cartons, a decrease of 13.9%. As the season progressed, the projected export volume was adjusted to 156 million cartons owing to a slight increase in navel orange production.

South African orange exports to China this season, however, have fallen by 40% compared with last year. The primary factor underlying this decrease is strong market demand from Europe, which has been evident since the start of the season. Overall, South African citrus exports to Europe have surged by approximately 50%. However, on account of heavy rainfall in the later stages of the season, numerous citrus orchards have been affected by black spot disease. It is anticipated that citrus volumes in the late season will be directed toward the Middle East and some Asian markets.

Regarding the Chinese market, Wan added that recent adverse weather conditions in northern China have affected consumption. Nevertheless, the overall market performance of imported citrus is showing signs of improvement. Chinese consumers continue to display a willingness to pay a premium for high-quality fruits or novel varieties, with stylish packaging often enhancing their appeal.

Image: Pixabay

This article was translated from Chinese. Read the original article.

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