South Africa: Covid-Inspired Vitamin C Boom Lifts SA Citrus Exports

analysis

Along with masks, hand sanitisers and Zoom, vitamin C is a product in red-hot demand because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This has triggered a surge in exports of South African citrus.

South Africa's agricultural sector has been one of the few bright spots in the economy, posting brisk growth of more than 15% in the second quarter (Q2) of 2020 when everything else imploded under the weight of the pandemic and associated lockdowns. Of course, farming was allowed to continue even under the hard lockdown and the weather has also been generally good. But the pandemic itself has given the sector a boost.

According to the Pretoria-based Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP), the pandemic has sparked demand for vitamin C products. This in turn has consumers and companies scrambling for citrus fruit, which in most cases is like a vitamin C bomb.

"Export volumes for Q2 increased by 33% for oranges, 43% for soft citrus and 44% for lemons and limes. Prices were also higher due to both local and international demand for Vitamin C in light of Covid-19," it said in a recent research note.

"Agricultural performance is expected to remain strong in quarters 3 and 4,...

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