SAFE (South African Fruit Exporters) has started on a new citrus project in Wellington, Western Cape. This 185-hectare shade netting project is one effort that tries to meet the growing overseas demand for citrus, according to Freshplaza.com.
According to the SA Fruit Journal, the use of shade nets is rapidly expanding in South Africa’s various citrus production areas. The publication reports that shade netting “could provide significant solutions to fruit quality-related problems, as well as increase producer competitiveness in future potentially-saturated markets. Shade nets could enable citrus production in areas traditionally considered unsuitable for production of citrus, as well as buffer against negative impacts of climate change.”
Van Rooyen cites less exposure to wind – a huge problem in the Wellington area – as one of the main reasons why SAFE is employing this technology at Bonathaba and Zwartfontein.
In addition, the netting is expected to protect the crops more effectively against extreme temperatures and climatic stress, wind blemishes and other cosmetic damage caused by hail and sunburn, damage caused by birds, as well as insects, pests and diseases. Netting assists farmers in reducing water usage and crop wastage by noteworthy percentages. It also often delivers fruit of a larger and more uniform size, and of a more intense colour.
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