South Africa becomes a leading naartjie supplier to the US

South Africa’s citrus exports are under way, marking the beginning of what is expected to be a robust season.

Chairman of the South African Summer Citrus Association, Boet Mouton, said total exports will amount to between 100 000 and 110 000 pallets, which will be shipped between now and the end of September.

“We are now packing clementines and Navels and our first conventional vessel will sail before the end of the month, with arrival in the US in mid-June,” Mouton told Fruitnet.

Launched in the mid-2000s, the summer citrus campaign has established South Africa as a leading supplier of oranges and naartjies to the US during the summer.

Mouton says that under this origin brand, South Africa’s citrus industry has solidified its position in the US market.

A bumper citrus season

Mouton is feeling confident about the season ahead, and has emphasised the reliability of South African citrus.

“We expect a good, steady season delivering the products for which we have become known. Although our clementine and Navel crops are slightly less than anticipated, it will not affect our market supply,” he added.

While South Africans tend to refer to anything that isn’t an orange, a naartjie, a naartjie is technically a type of mandarin.

The citrus industry anticipates significant increases in the Nadorcott/Tango mandarin categories, with volumes up 16 percent to 24.1 million cartons.

Leanri mandarins, a mid- to late-season variety, will contribute around 2.5 million cartons. Orri mandarins will add another 2 million cartons while other mandarin types will add a further 2.7 million cartons.

Mouton says the industry hopes for a smooth production season, following last year’s disruptive weather that severely affected logistics around exports.

South African citrus exports traditionally begin with clementines and Navel oranges. This is followed by naartjies in mid-season, and conclude with Valencia oranges in October.

SA’s blueberries in high demand, massive exports planned for 2024

In other local fruit news, South Africa’s blueberry industry anticipates a 10% growth in international exports as it gears up for the 2024 season, as reported by The South African.

The blueberry season in South Africa has kicked off in the northern regions, with initial export shipments expected to commence in June.

The bulk of exports will start when harvesting in the Western Cape picks up in the latter half of the year.

In 2023, South Africa exported just over 22 000 tonnes of blueberries, with all indications suggesting the Republic will export 25 000 tonnes in 2024.

Berries ZA, the blueberry industry’s grower body, is making strides in expanding its presence in Eastern markets.