Paula Luckhoff29 May 2024 | 18:58

Orange juice shortage and soaring prices present opportunity for SA growers

Brazil is the world's top exporter of orange juice, and its orange farmers are facing their smallest crop in over 30 years.

Orange juice shortage and soaring prices present opportunity for SA growers

Oranges, orange tree, citrus. Image: Hans on Pixabay

Orange juice prices have hit record highs as Brazil's crop is decimated by changing weather patterns and disease.

Concentrated orange juice futures on the Intercontinental Exchange in New York have nearly doubled in the past 12 months, reports UK online publicatoin The Grocer.

While South Africa remains the world's second biggest citrus exporter, Brazil and California are the top exporters of orange juice. 

Bruce Whitfield asks Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers Association, whether local growers could capitalise on the global orange juice shortage.

Chadwick notes that the processed orange juice price in South Africa has risen dramatically.

"We've seen it going from around R1 000 a ton to upwards of R3 000 a ton, so that is a massive opportunity for growers."
"What it means is that they can divert some of their marginal fruit into juice. That's the fruit they were thinking about exporting and wondering if they'd make a return... so, yes, it could really help the industry."
Justin Chadwick, CEO - Citrus Growers Association

While citrus exporters were spared the worst of Transnet's port failures in 2023 thanks to the timing of their seasonal cycle, Chadwick says this year could still hold some risk.

"We go into our season a bit concerned in that there's been no real investment in new equipment for the ports. Obviously the equipment's gotten a bit older again, so if there are multiple failures we could face some challenges this year."
Justin Chadwick, CEO - Citrus Growers Association

Scroll up to the audio player to listen to the interview