US delays cost citrus growers dearly

Highlighted by trade adviser Donald MacKay, it is estimated that South Africa loses billions of rand due to delayed tariff decisions.

The citrus industry is providing a potent example. According to a report in Freight News, South Africa’s citrus industry believes exports could grow by 10 million cartons a year for the next decade.

That’s good news for an industry that is struggling at the moment, with many producers losing money because of rising input costs and the impact of daily power cuts.

Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers Association, said red tape is preventing some key markets from importing increased volumes of South African citrus.

The United States, for example, could import an additional 75 000 tons of grapefruit and soft citrus by 2024, which would create another 3 750 jobs in the industry and generate more than R1 billion in export earnings.

“However, currently only growers in the Western and Northern Cape are permitted to export citrus to the region. Growers in other provinces will only be given access to the US market if a long-delayed final rule is finalised between our two governments – a process which has already dragged on for the past six years.”

That’s six seasons of lost exports, lost income and lost jobs.