Current harvest volumes are following the initial estimates, according to figures published by the Citrus Growers’ Association (CGA) South Africa. The main difference from last year, of course, is grapefruit which suffered from hail and the intense heat earlier in the year.
The grapefruit season is also running late as growers wait for the fruit to colour up. This is creating good demand and market prices. Lemons are also in great demand on the various markets. However, this is not due to a reduced crop, as estimates are of an increase of one million boxes from South Africa.
“We have sent more lemons into Europe than we have in previous years to date and so have Argentina, who are getting back to normal volumes. The reason for the big demand is probably more due to an early stop of the Northern Hemisphere supply, with both Spain and Turkey stopping earlier than normal,” explains Justin Chadwick from the CGA. “We are actually ahead of previous years.”
The extra million boxes from South Africa will not have an influence on prices in Europe, as only a small portion of that will find its way into Europe.
Generally, all markets are retuning well at the moment, but there are concerns that the Far East may become oversupplied as other producing countries reach full production.
Russia received its direct shipment of South African citrus last month, but according to Chadwick people are generally cautious entering this market as the economic situation is still unstable.