In his latest weekly newsletter, Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers’ Association (CGA), focusses on dam levels in citrus growing regions as well as fruits that have been packed and shipped. Chadwick celebrates the good rains in the Western Cape but mentions that the Eastern Cape is facing dire conditions as the Kouga dam stands at 7,6 % compared to 18,5% last year. Dams in the north (Mpumalanga and Limpopo) are also in better shape than 2017, ensuring enough water for 2018 and to set a good crop for 2019.

The harvesting of different citrus variants has already started, and Chadwick shares current statistics. Grapefruits, soft citrus, lemons, navels and valencias have been packed and shipped. Grapefruit is leading the pack with 13,3 million fruit packed, which is way over last year’s 11,7 million fruit. “As grapefruit starts to colour, so the rate of packing has stepped up. The Grapefruit Focus Group met this week (ending 15 June 2018) and increased their prediction – now a million cartons over the original estimate,” says Chadwick. The Soft Citrus Focus Group has made another upward adjustment to the prediction, making this year’s estimate  better than 2017. The rest of the citrus groups have had a slow this year, with the estimate way behind what last year (2017) had to offer. – Ntswaki Motaung, AgriOrbit