South African citrus industry members held their annual planning session in late March, and they heard some good news: growers are making progress against the false coddling moth.
The session included growers, exporters, U.S.-based importers, shipping partners, receivers and service providers, and government representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (DAFF), according to a news release from the Citrusdal, South Africa-based Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum, the consortium of about 230 growers approved to export to the U.S.
In preparation for the upcoming season, DAFF has been inspecting farms to assure ongoing regulatory compliance. Thanks to the efforts of growers, the percentage of fruit infested with false coddling moth has fallen from .48 per tree in 2012 to less than .05 per tree this year, according to DAFF.
Also in attendance at the meeting were the South Africa Minister of Agriculture to the U.S., Vangile Titi-Msumza, and the U.S. Consul General to Cape Town, Erica Barks-Ruggles.
“Each entity represented is vital to the success of the program,” Suhanra Conradie, the forum’s chief executive officer, said in the release. “We get together here to listen to one another and address questions and concern and avoid potential problems before the season gets started.”
2014 will be the 15th year South Africa exports citrus to the U.S.
“South Africa’s agricultural citrus exports are one of the country’s largest success stories for increased access to the United States under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act,” Barks-Ruggles said in the release.