SOUTH AFRICA – A new bilateral protocol has been established, paving the way for South African oranges to enter the Vietnamese market.

Signed by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) in collaboration with the Southern Africa Citrus Growers’ Association (CGA), this protocol sets the stage for increased export opportunities as the 2024 citrus export season approaches, gearing up to kick off in April.

The agreement signals a breakthrough for South African citrus growers, granting access to a market with the potential to absorb up to 15,000 tons of oranges.

This expansion not only promises enhanced revenue generation but also heralds the creation of additional job opportunities within the sector.

Years of collaborative effort between DALRRD and the CGA have culminated in this milestone, which follows nearly a decade of negotiations prompted by changes in Vietnamese import regulations.

The joint endeavors of the two entities, supplemented by comprehensive technical support from Citrus Research International, a CGA subsidiary, have been instrumental in ensuring that local citrus growers reap the benefits of this newfound market access.

Minister Thoko Didiza, championing the cause of export-led inclusive growth in agriculture, emphasized the strategic importance of facilitating greater market access during her address at the CGA’s Citrus Summit in 2023.

Encouraging industry stakeholders to collaborate with the Department, Minister Didiza reiterated the government’s commitment to supporting farmers in driving agricultural exports, particularly in Eastern markets.

Crucial phytosanitary agreements between Vietnam and South Africa have been reached, clearing the path for smooth trade.

Recent amendments have seen the removal of two pests from Vietnam’s official pest list, while a new cold treatment protocol has been outlined in the phytosanitary import requirements document issued by Vietnam’s Plant Protection Department.

In a joint statement, DALRRD and the CGA hailed the opening of the Vietnamese market as a significant victory for the citrus industry, highlighting the potential for substantial export growth.

The South African citrus industry, they noted, could see exports surge from 165 million to 260 million cartons over the next eight years, provided all stakeholders align with the goals outlined in the Agriculture and Agro-processing Master Plan (AAMP).

Expressing gratitude to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam, the statement emphasized the mutual benefits of the partnership.

“The supply of our local oranges to Vietnam is advantageous for both Vietnamese consumers and South African citrus growers,” it concluded, underscoring the shared interests driving this strategic collaboration.

For all the latest fresh produce industry news updates from Africa, the Middle East, and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.