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April / May 2024

CITRUS biosecurity threats

SA Fruit Journal: April / May 2024

SA is the second largest exporter of fresh citrus fruit in the world.

By CRI Biosecurity Division

With 3 444 232 tonnes produced in 2022, and 99 697 ha under citrus production, SA is currently the 10th largest producer of fresh citrus fruit in the world. In 2022, the country exported 2 391 749 tonnes of citrus – approximately 80% of its total citrus production. And today, the South African citrus industry is worth more than R 30 billion and employs more than 120 000 people. Currently, the citrus industry is free from many of the citrus pests and diseases that have caused devastation in other citrus growing countries. The global increase in movement of people and products, coupled with limited capacity for border control, means that the South African citrus industry faces many potential threats of exotic pest incursions. Biosecurity is at the core of the Citrus Research International (CRI) mission to maximise the long-term global competitiveness of the Southern African citrus growers.

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