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   South African Summer Citrus At Half-Season Point
by Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum
Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 8:54AM EDT

Philadelphia, Pa., -- At the half-way point in the summer citrus season, South African Summer Citrus (www.summercitrus.com ) continues in high demand across the U.S. To date, more than 30,000 tons of citrus has arrived here.

“There are several things which have made this season strong for us,” said Suhanra Conradie, CEO of the Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum. “First, virtually all domestic citrus products were gone from the marketplace when the first South African fruit arrived. This prepared retail stores to meet the consumer demand with South African citrus.” South African citrus exported to the U.S. purposefully does not compete with domestic product, arriving in windows when homegrown citrus is no longer available.

Another contributing element to the successful South African season thus far has been late arrivals to the U.S. of other foreign products. “Weather is always a factor when it comes to produce,” said Ms. Conradie. “While rain delayed some of the South African vessels, other exporting countries were also impacted by weather. When other non-domestic product entered the U.S. market, demand for the South African product was well-established and has remained steady to date.”

A third factor has been the open flow of information among importers and retailers about the volumes that are arriving. “This is unique to the fruit industry,” said Ms. Conradie. “We are very detailed to assure all our partners have what they need and know when it is arriving. Combined with the reliable quality of the South African citrus products which has been established over the years, this focused discipline results in satisfied consumers, retailers, importers – and growers!”

Ms. Conradie projects that the remainder of the season will be consistent with the beginning half as the Midknight oranges have begun arriving in the U.S. With intense flavor and high juice content, the Midknight oranges are among the most popular of the South African citrus products. “The Midknights are a real treat. There are a number of promotions underway with retail stores to highlight the Midknights and encourage consumers to include them in school lunches and snacks,” said Ms. Conradie. “While all the products are delicious, the Midknights are particularly good.”

The South African citrus products will be available in the U.S. through early November but not much beyond that. “With the final vessel arriving during the third week of October, we expect to complete the season before the domestic product takes hold,” said Ms. Conradie.

This is the 14th season of citrus shipments from South Africa to the U.S. and average annually +/- 40,000 tons. It comes primarily from the region near Citrusdal about two hours northwest of Cape Town, the Northern Cape near Kimberly, and the northwest along the Orange River, near Upington.

The WCCPF facilitates logistical, marketing and sales support coordination of products for its members.  Its mission is to maintain and expand its role as the preferred and reliable supplier of safe summer citrus for the U.S.

Source: Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum

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