- Lemons coming from South Africa are bigger this season, thanks to late rains that have helped the fruit increase in size.
- Ideally, a 15-pound box of lemons needs 100, 113 or 138 lemons; with current sizes, only 88 lemons fill the boxes.
- Lemon orchards also bear more fruit, which promises this year’s harvest.
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Late heavy rains, especially in some areas of Port Elizabeth, where key citrus production regions are located, have helped South African lemons reach larger than expected sizes.
In recent weeks, farmers in the Eastern Cape have been harvesting much larger lemons, said Business Insider South Africa Leroy Venter, chairman of the focus group on lemons at the Citrus Growers Association.
“The late rains in the Eastern Cape have been very helpful and we have started to notice that in the last few weeks larger fruits are coming out of the gardens,” he said.
Although the early rains of September 2021 showed a good harvest for the 2022 season, its lack in the middle of the season slowed the growth of lemons that did not reach ideal size.
“We started harvesting a little smaller fruit. We had good spring rains, then we didn’t get the next rains to help the fruit size. [to] are growing, so the first fees of the season we saw were lower, ”he said.
The size of the fruit in the citrus industry is determined by the amount of fruit that can be taken in a cardboard box of 15 kg. Ideally, a box of 15 kg should hold 100, 113 or 138 lemons; everything above is considered too small. During the first training camp of the season, the 15-pound cardboard collected as many as 162, Venter said.
“After the first fruits appeared, the late rains helped a little; now we are going to 88 accounts, ”he said.
Henny Ehlers, chair of the Citrus Citrus Producers’ Forum in Sunday Rivers Valley in the Eastern Cape, said farmers in the region advertise Russia as a country to export larger fruits, but are currently facing problems as a result of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
“Our marketing options for this larger fruit are Russia, but as a result of the war, this market is under strong pressure.
“The rain in the Eastern Cape came at the right time. A good harvest has been created, and the size of the fruit is also at the optimal level, ”he said.