The first new season lemons from FruitOne arrived on the Canadian market in the first week of April. The company has been shipping lemons to this market for more than fifteen years.
“We plan to send around 25 containers of premium spec. lemons,” said Rowan Vickery from FruitOne. “Thereafter we will continue with Star Ruby grapefruit, premium Tango mandarins and Valencia oranges.”
Demand in 2020 was very strong on the Canadian market. The difficulties experienced in the hospitality sector were compensated for by increases in retail demands. According to Rowan the 2021 seems to be showing a very similar trend, though he expects a slightly tougher season due to the effects of the prolonged pandemic on the economy.
“The citrus crop looks good this season. The weather conditions during blossom and fruit set were almost perfect, and the late rains experienced in Limpopo and Mpumalanga have resulted in good fruit size and quality. The rains have also provided the farms with water security for the 2022 season and into 2023.”
In South Africa there are lots of new citrus plantings coming into production now. In the case of FruitOne the biggest growth will be in the seedless Tango mandarins.
“Our 450ha of orchards makes FruitOne the single biggest grower of this variety in South Africa (in terms of hectares planted), and we will see exponential growth in volume over the next five years.”
FruitOne packs lemons in the early window, starting in February and finishing in April. The rain caused a few week’s delay this season, but they will still finish packing their lemon crop by the end of April. Due to the timing, FruitOne concentrate on supplying the Middle East, Far East, Russia and the Canadian markets. The company also supplies their own office – FruitOne Europe in Rotterdam who manage their key retail programs.
“The markets started off well, at similar levels to last year. However, they are now starting to feel a bit of pressure. This is due to the large Spanish lemon crop, Argentina starting to export lemons, and the volume from South Africa starting to pick up. A large volume of lemons are also sold into the hospitality sector which is still largely closed in many countries, affecting consumption. The South African lemons are of a very good quality, so we are hopeful that the markets will stabilize and maybe even pick up as the hospitality sector opens up.”
Rowan said that there have been difficulties in shipping though indications are that matters should improve in a few weeks.
“Logistics is probably our biggest concern at the moment, with the bigger citrus crop and a shortage of equipment and infrastructure constraints in the peak of the season. In future the industry will need a marked improvement in efficiencies and infrastructure to effectively ship the increasing citrus crop. FruitOne are proactively exploring innovative solutions to ensure our fruit is exported timeously.”