South African citrus farmers are expecting another positive year and while statistics for current production have not yet been finalised, the outlook for 2013 is strong according to the Fresh Fruit Portal.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) also confirmed that the outlook for South Africa's citrus production in 2012/13 looked positive.
South Africa is the world's second largest citrus exporter after Spain. However, severe hail storms in Groblersdal and Marble Hall damaged local citrus crops and reduced the output of navel oranges from that region.
South Africa has taken tactical steps to remain a top supplier in an increasingly competitive global market, making the best of good early rainfall and temperatures, and a weak Rand going into the start of the year.
Exports should reach the about 1.6m tons for the year. About 60% of local citrus is exported and about half of that is exported via Durban.
Moreover, growing export markets in Japan, Russia and the United States, have boosted export earnings. The Fresh Fruit Portal says that SA citrus industry growth can be attributed in part to the help of foreign investment from companies such as Sunkist and imports by U.S. retailers inclujding Walmart, Costco and Whole Foods.