Citrus, Coronavirus, Covid-19, Fruit Exports, Justin Chadwick, South African Citrus Growers\U2019 Association, Transnet, Vitamin C, World Health Organisation

Citrus, Coronavirus

SA’s citrus beats the world’s Covid blues

The stringent lockdown measures resulted in many sectors crumpling, but the citrus industry boomed

2020-12-05 10:32:00 PM

The stringent lockdown measures resulted in many sectors crumpling, but the citrus industry boomed

The stringent lockdown measures resulted in many sectors crumpling, but the citrus industry boomed

. The early stages of lockdown saw the citrus industry face uncertainty about how it would maintain this. Supply chain difficulties, including congestion at the Cape Town and Durban ports, uncertainty about the Covid regulations and container shortages had many worried. 

I’m not here to make friends with anyone – Mashaba explains EFF exclusion from multi-party meeting Ntshavheni appointed as acting Minister in the Presidency Wine makers taking govt to court

But these were quickly dealt with by the South African Citrus Growers’ Association (CGA), which formed a solutions response committee that developed guidelines for matters such as the labour-intensive industry’s farmhouses and work safely. The association worked with Transnet to resolve lengthy port delays. 

On the receiving end, things were running smoothly, and — the pandemic notwithstanding — the CGA’s reports from the end of September (the end of the season) estimate a record export of 148.8-million cartons, 21.3-million cartons more than last year’s officially packed figure of 127.5-million cartons.

“What could have been a disastrous season turned into the best one we have ever had,” said Justin Chadwick, CGA’s chief executive. South Africa exported 80-million cartons of oranges, 29.4-million cartons of lemons, 23.6-million cartons of soft citrus and 15.6-million cartons of grapefruit. 

The CGA believes the spike in demand — which has seen additional United States ports of entry for citrus imports from South Africa open up, as well as the Philippines signing on after more than a decade of negotiations — is in no small part caused by Covid-19 pandemic and the belief that a higher intake of vitamin C will serve people well in fighting the effects of the disease.

Despite no definitive proof that vitamin C is an immunity booster, it hasn’t stopped the global scramble for grapefruit, oranges and lemons. According to a World Health Organisation publication on vitamin and mineral requirements in human nutrition, “claims for a positive association between vitamin C consumption and health status are frequently made, but results from intervention studies are inconsistent.” 

A regular intake of Vitamin C is essential for blood vessels, cartilage, muscle and collagen formation among other things, according to theMayo Clinic.In terms of total citrus exports, South Africa ranks number two, behind Spain. In terms of oranges individually, another African country claims the top spot. According to the

COVID-19: Health Dept to reveal phase one inoculation details ActionSA’s new Covid-19 multiparty platform excludes EFF | Citypress SA Lockdown: Police arrest over 7,000 people in KZN

Financial Times, Egypt surpassed Spain and South Africa (in the second and third spots, respectively) in 2019 to become the world’s largest exporter of oranges by volume for the second consecutive year, exporting 1.8-million metric tonnes of the fruit.

All our essential coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. To see more, visit our hubSubscribe to the M&GThese are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

TheMail & Guardian Read more: Mail & Guardian »

SA Uber Eats drivers to embark on nationwide strike

Last month, drivers brought deliveries in Gauteng to a standstill for two days.