More fruits will be exported to China: S. African growers association
JOHANNESBURG, March 31 (Xinhua) -- The Citrus Growers' Association of Southern Africa CEO Justin Chadwick expects local lemon producers to export more tonnes of lemon throughout this year to China after having exported 225 tonnes to the market since the start of the year.
"To date, only (225 tonnes) of lemons have been exported to China; it is very early in the season and we expect considerably more to go as the season ramps up," he told Xinhua.
South Africa, a leading lemon producer in Africa, now has the capability of exporting lemons due to a revised lemon protocol. According to the previous agreement, signed bilaterally in 2006, all citrus exports from South Africa were required to undergo cold treatment for 24 days at or below 0.6 degrees Celsius to prevent fruit flies and false codling moths.
Following the implementation of the new agreement, lemons will have to be chilled for a minimum of 18 days at a temperature of 3 degrees Celsius.
"The revised protocol means that lemons can be shipped at a higher temperature. This is a great improvement as lemons are very susceptible to cold damage, and the previous requirements restricted the exports of lemons," Chadwick said.
The revised trade changes could create thousands of jobs within the lemon sector, generating revenue of more than 330 million Rand (22.78 million US dollars).
Chadwick said he would be traveling to Zimbabwe this week to resolve issues that would enable Zimbabwe to export lemons to China next year after the country signed its protocol last December.
"Zimbabwe got access to China in December - but has not exported any fruit in 2022 - they still need to finalize some aspects of the entry process," he said.
Lemon growers from Zimbabwe and eSwatini are represented by the Citrus Growers' Association of Southern Africa.
South Africa's Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development also announced in February that the country is allowed to export fresh pears to China, with growers expected to start exporting pears in the new few months.