On December 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) published the Citrus Annual Report on South Africa. Citrus accounts for over 247,105 acres of land in South Africa, of which, oranges represent roughly 47%.
- FAS estimates that orange acreage in marketing year (MY) 2021/22 grew by 2% to 117,992 acres; and forecasts marginal growth for MY 2022/23 to be slightly less (<1% increase to 118,932 acres) due to high input costs and shipping rates, infrastructure inefficiencies, ineffective ports operations, and deteriorating road networks.
- FAS estimates that orange production in MY 2021/22 increased by 6% to 1.6 MMT from the previous year due to constant growth in planted area and above-average rainfall. FAS also forecasts that South Africa’s orange production in MY 2022/23 will increase by 3% to 1.7 million metric tons (MMT) due to good winter rainfall. South African orange consumption is forecast to grow marginally by 5% to 90,000 MT in MY 2022/23, still down from 95,000 MT in MY 2020/21, due to slow economic growth and increasing food price inflation. FAS notes that South Africa prioritizes supplying export markets and use surplus oranges to supply domestic markets.
- Imports are forecast to remain flat at roughly 4,000 MT in MY 2022/23, as they are used to fill domestic seasonal supply gaps in November and December.
- FAS estimates that exports for MY 2021/22 are expected to increase by 4% to 1.35 MMT. While South Africa exports to over 100 countries, the EU remains South Africa’s largest export market, accounting for almost 40% in MY 2021/22, followed closely by China (39%). Exports to the U.S grew more than 25% to 53,284 MT in MY 2021/22 from the previous year and are expected to continue growing, benefiting from duty-free access under African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA). FAS forecasts that exports will grow by 3% to reach a record level of 1.4 MMT in MY 2022/23 from the previous year due to higher production.
- FAS estimates that grapefruit acreage in MY 2022/23 will grow marginally by less than 1% to 22,857 acres from the previous year due to softening global demand, accelerating farming input costs, and higher shipping rates.
- While FAS estimates that South Africa’s grapefruit production in MY 2021/22 increased by 8% to 380,000 MT from the previous year due to favorable weather conditions, they also forecast that production will grow only marginally by 1.3% to 385,00 MT in MY 2022/23.
- South African grapefruit consumption is forecast to remain flat at around 3,000 MT in MY 2022/23 due to domestic unpopularity.
- Imports are estimated at 1,400 MT in MY 2021/22 and are expected to remain flat at around 1,000 MT in MY 2022/23. Imports are used to fill in the small seasonal supply gaps at the end of the season, and are mainly from Eswatini, Spain, Turkey, and Israel.
- Exports are expected to decrease by 19% to 235,000 MT in MY 2021/22 due to input costs, higher shipping rates, flooding, and international conflict disrupting trade. In MY 2022/23, FAS predicts exports will grow marginally by 4.3% to 245,000 MT due to a slight growth in production. China held South Africa’s largest grapefruit export share in MY 2021/22, accounting for 27% of total exports, followed by the Netherlands (26%), Japan (10%), and Russia (8%). South African grapefruit exports to the U.S. are low in comparison but have grown exponentially over the past decade. While they decreased by 30% in MY 2021/22, exports are expected to bounce back in MY 2022/23.
- FAS estimates that mandarin acreage in MY 2021/22 grew by 7% to 69,190 acres from the previous year; however, they forecast that acreage will remain flat in MY 2022/23 due to softening demand, increasing input costs and shipping rates, and infrastructure inefficiencies.
- FAS estimates that South Africa’s mandarin production in MY 2021/22 will increase by 7% to 630,000 MT from the previous year due to increased production acreage, favorable weather conditions, and new netting methods.
- South African mandarin consumption is forecast to grow by 6% to 48,000 MT in MY 2022/23 from the current year due to increased production. FAS estimates consumption increased 4.7% to 45,000 MT in MY 2021/22.
- Exports are expected to increase 3% to 520,000 MT in MY 2021/22 and almost 8% to 560,000 MT in MY 2022/23. The EU and the UK account for 45% of total South African mandarin exports, followed by Russia (10%), the U.S. (10%), and the U.A.E (7%). FAS notes that exports to the U.S. have increased exponentially over the past five years and are expected to continue due to consumer preference for easy peeling.
- Imports are forecast to remain flat at roughly 3,000 MT in MY 2022/23, as they are used to fill domestic seasonal supply gaps.
- FAS forecasts that lemon/lime acreage will increase marginally by less than 1% to 45,220 acres in MY 2021/22 from the previous year due to sputtering export prices received by producers. FAS notes that lemon production is expected to grow as more than 40% of the lemon acreage are orchards that are five years or younger.
- FAS estimates that in MY 2021/22, production increased 4% to 650,000 MY. FAS forecasts that South Africa’s lemon/lime production will increase by 2% to a record high of 660,000 MT in MY 2022/23 due to favorable weather conditions and young trees approaching full production. South African lemon/lime consumption is forecast to grow by 7% to 30,000 MT in 2022/23 from an estimated 28,000 MT in MY 2021/22 due to higher production.
- FAS estimates exports to increase by 12% to 560,000 MT in MY 2021/22. The EU and the UK remain the largest export markets for South African lemons/limes, accounting for almost 50% of total exports. Russian imports stayed flat in MY 2021/22 at 7%, while Chinese imports increased over 1,000% to 9,000 MT due to easing cold treatment requirements. Exports are expected to increase by 2% to a record high of 570,000 MT in MY 2022/23 due to increased production, sustained growth in the EU and UK, and growth in demand from the Middle East and Asia. Imports are forecast to remain flat at roughly 3,000 MT in MY 2022/23, mainly from Eswatini, as domestic supply meets demand.
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