South Africa Citrus

South Africa, unlike most other countries in the world, can verify the exact date citrus arrived. Evidence exists in the daily journal of events kept by Van Riebeeck, the first governor of the Dutch colony at Cape Town , the first orange trees arrived from the island of St. Helena on the ship "Tulp," on June 11, 1654 .The first fruits produced by these trees were harvested , “plucked”, on July 25, 1661. It was stated that by this time, 1,162 young orange, lemon, and pummelo trees were growing in the governor's garden.


The island of St. Helena was commonly used as a port of call by early voyagers to India and China and important for the Dutch East India Company as a stopping place for supplies and water. As evidenced on the island, citrus from Asia destined to Europe had been planted there as an intermediate point of transfer.


The South African Citrus Industry was established in the early 1800s. The success American growers had in exporting citrus under refrigeration by ship in the 1890’s opened up new opportunities. The exact year the first fruit export attempts from South Africa to England were undertaken vary from 1886 to 1902. In 1907, 3000 cartons of South African oranges were sold in Britain. By 1925 South African citrus exports reach one million boxes.


Over the past 90 years the South African Citrus Industry has, and continues to face many challenges. The globalization of citrus both pulls and pushes to obtain consistency in political policies, cultural practices in agriculture, Food Safety for consumers, and protection of citrus itself.


South Africa is a biologically diverse region and the differing micro-climates within this geographic area can support growth of most citrus varieties. In spite of the difficulties arising from the strict requirements imposed, not only on citrus but on all fruits and vegetables, from any region in the world, bound for exportation, South Africa has become one of the largest global exporters of citrus.


naartjie (Afrikaans) – tangerine, mandarin, satsuma – any pealable orange-coloured citrus fruit with neat segments; used as a mainstream word in South African English, and a dietary staple. Often thrown at T.V. when frustrated with referee decisions. (Source:Wikipedia)

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