Citrus growers at Sundays River Valley in the Eastern Cape are dumping fruit due to unfavourable market difficulties with European exports. Videos have been circulating on social media of the millions of fruit pieces being discarded.
Farmers say they are struggling with high export costs, a flooded local market and full juice factories. Shipping costs went up by 120% last year, reducing profits.
However, this trend seems to be faced by countries all over the world. Hennie Elhers, a farmer in Kirkwood, says the war in Ukraine has aggravated this problem.
“Last year as SA we exported 163 million cartons; our current estimate is for 150/155 million. So it’s actually less than last year. The problem has been escalated by the war in Russia and the Ukraine. There is less spending in household across the world especially Europe and the UK. So even though we are exporting less fruit there is less money for households to buy the fruit,” says Elhers.
Economist Ronney Ncwadi says this situation is not unique to South Africa.
“The constraints in the exports of the citrus sector are going to cause the rand to weaken because exports are needed in order to keep the rand strong. That is going to constrain the imports we need in this country. The rand is going to weaken because of the lack of exports in the citrus sector, and then we won’t be able to create jobs also. So this has implications in the micro economy of SA,” says Ncwadi.
VIDEO: Citrus growers from Sundays River Valley dumping fruit due to unfavourable market conditions: