The Citrus Growers Association (CGA), with its Grower Development Company (GDC), is proud to announce that black citrus growers have achieved a 40% increase in production during the 2019/20 citrus season. Several farms and black growers have increased output by over 40 000 cartons – with one black grower increasing production by 99 000 cartons in just one year.

The harvest records also reveal that black citrus growers have increased local output to domestic markets by 55% since 2019. Last year, black citrus growers provided over 400 000 cartons of fruit to South African grocery stores and supermarkets. In addition more than 75% of black citrus growers in South Africa export their produce to global markets.

These figures show that the growth of the citrus industry in recent years has been inclusive and that transformation – one of the fundamental objectives of the organised citrus industry – is gaining momentum.

How black citrus growers benefit

The CGA-GDC helps facilitate and support the establishment and empowerment of black citrus growers through assistance with:

  • Production infrastructure (irrigation, mechanisation, building structures, and other general farm equipment).
  • Technical and business management support to assist growers with the commercialisation of their fruit in South African stores.
  • Achieving regulatory compliance to become accredited exporters to the global market.

CGA-GDC general manager, Lukhanyo Nkombisa, says these achievements are a testament to the groundwork that has been laid over the past decade.

“The citrus industry has spent over ten years creating structures such as the GDC to assist, guide, and advise the CGA-GDC on the needs of black citrus growers, so the GDC may provide them with the support they need to thrive. The GDC is run by black producers who ensure that the citrus industry is committed to supporting the initiatives that will result in the establishment of an inclusive citrus industry, with a sound transformation agenda,” says Nkombisa.

These transformation initiatives are partly made possible by the new statutory export citrus levy, gazetted in December last year by minister Thoko Didiza. The levy will be funded by 1 250 citrus growers over the next four years, with 20% of the new levy being allocated to the development of black citrus growers.

New citrus transformation plan

This funding will be invested in the CGA’s recently finalised four-year transformation plan, which will be implemented in 2021 through the CGA-GDC and Citrus Academy. The plan will focus on:

  • The provision of enterprise and supplier development programmes to black growers.
  • The provision of skills development programmes to black growers.
  • The roll-out of socio-economic development programmes in rural communities.
  • Ensuring the sustainable growth of black-owned enterprises.
  • Greater representation of black growers in industry leadership positions.

CEO of the CGA, Justin Chadwick, says: “The Agriculture and Agro-Processing Master Plan (AAMP) is an initiative of the presidency to stimulate inclusive growth in the agricultural sector. The CGA has committed to the development of this plan. With a solid base of successful black citrus growers, initiatives driven by the CGA-GDC will assist in ensuring sustainable development.

“Over the past year, we’ve also witnessed South Africa’s unemployment rate skyrocket to an all-time high – with the outbreak of Covid-19 resulting in widespread joblessness and business closures. At a time when many have been left devastated by the global pandemic, black citrus growers can employ over 7 000 permanent and seasonal staff. This is a phenomenal achievement that encapsulates the adage, ‘empowered people empower people’.

The CGA-GDC will continue to strive to be the vehicle that addresses and solves the challenges faced by black growers – with its prime objective being to make a significant impact on the transformation of the citrus industry. – Press release, CGA