The citrus value chain has been greatly impacted by the recent wave of looting that has swept across both Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). Per the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa or CGA, the industry had been most impacted when the closure of Durban port took place.
Producers from the Northern provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo have been transporting fruits to other ports in the country. Citrus from other regions continues being exported from Coega ports and Cape Town. The events had an insignificant impact on the amount of citrus that is being exported to foreign markets, including the Middle East, the European Union, China, and the US.
The association has said that for ensuring complete recovery of KwaZulu-Natal’s value chain, the CGA had been collaborating with both private and public sector stakeholders to get daily updates on the situation. This would help identify risks earlier. This information had been provided to the Indian government continuously.
The industry has said that although traffic was flowing on the N2 and the N3, many truck businesses had been impacted by the violence over the last week, which also indicated that truck supply had been stretched in the region.
The CGA has said that many truckers had been prepared to transport cargo in the daytime due to ongoing security concerns. The association has also added that for this particular reason, it had asked the SANDF troops to continue manning both highways to permit trucks to operate 24×7.
The industry has said it had also called for troops to continue being deployed to key sites along the citrus value chain, including the Durban port, the Natcor railway line, and the major food distribution centers and cold stores in areas like the Cato Ridge and Hammarsdale.
With food shortages continuing to be an immediate threat in various areas in and around KwaZulu-Natal, the citrus industry officials have been collaborating with the government for assistance it could have provided to deliver the necessities to those communities that had been impacted by the unrest.