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Safj Sa Fruit Journal Hortgro Cost Benefit Analysis Featured
December 2023 / January 2024

A cost-benefit analysis for crop load

SA Fruit Journal: December 2023 / January 2024

Generating profits in difficult conditions is one of the key drivers for sustainability in agriculture. By Dr Kandas Cloete (BFAP) and Natasha Jackson (CRI)

In recent years, some citrus producers have struggled to realise good returns as the industry faced a plethora of challenges. These challenges include, but are not limited to the cost of fertiliser, chemicals, and fuel that rose rapidly because of the invasion of Ukraine, record freight rates and a decline in market prices.

In this article, we discuss some of the aspects that can affect economic viability. These include some considerations that drive citrus growers’ net return, understanding market demand, and the financial implications of the count spread supplied to the packhouse.

Combining this information to calculate the cost-benefit analysis of crop load management can hopefully provide producers with a framework for practical implementation.

Considerations to improve citrus growers’ net return

With a focus on citrus production, there are many things that are beyond the control of the producer, especially when considering the long value chain from grower to consumer. However, there are a few things producers can control to improve returns. Trees are alive. They require water, nutrients, and sunlight to thrive and produce good-quality fruit.

Producers have control over fertiliser application and can implement certain measures that could save on cost and improve yields and fruit quality. Managing the penetration of sunlight into the tree by pruning trees during the winter and summer is an essential production practice. By regularly pruning trees, the rind quality of fruit improves, resulting in a deeper orange colour and stronger rind, and trees can bear more marketable fruit, while also increasing the effectiveness of agricultural chemicals to be used for pest and disease management.

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