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A ‘Perfect Storm’ Threatens Southern African Citrus Industry

  • High input costs and low export prices weigh on producers
  • Growers’ profits likely to drop through 2030, study shows
Workers inspect grapefruits in Hoedspruit, South Africa.

Workers inspect grapefruits in Hoedspruit, South Africa.

Photographer: Mujahid Safodien/AFP/Getty Images

Southern Africa’s citrus industry is battling a “perfect storm” of increased production, rising farming input costs and a decline in export prices that threaten to erode its profitability, according to the head of a regional industry body.     

While fruit production is set to grow by 500,000 tons over the next three to five years, soaring fertilizer and fuel prices stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, high freight rates and inefficiencies at South African ports put the industry’s long-term survival at risk, Justin Chadwick, the chief executive of the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa said in opinion piece in the Johannesburg-based Business Day newspaper.