Orange oil is a by-product of the juice industry. Oil is cold pressed from the peel of the fruit, after the juice extraction and is widely used across the flavour and fragrance industry. Sweet orange (citrus sinensis) is around 90% d’limonene, a product used across many more industries. Approximately 40% of global oranges are processed for juice and oil with 60% solely used as a fresh fruit for consumption.
The main production type of orange from South Africa is the Sweet Orange, Citrus sinensis. There is also a small amount of Blood Orange produced in the area. The 2 main types of orange oil produced are Valencia and Navel.
Navel production starts around May and ends in June and the Valencia starts around June through to October/November. It is grown mainly in the North East of South Africa and the Western Cape but there are producers in most regions of South Africa.
There is also a small amount produced in Zimbabwe, which has similar characteristics to the South African oil.
The fresh fruit market drives all citrus products in South Africa, so the majority of the fruit is produced for exporting as fresh fruit and traditionally the amount is quite similar year on year. There is approximately 400 tons of oil produced per season.
The Valencia usually has quite a high aldehyde level of around 1.5% and the profile of the oil is similar to the Brazilian orange. Given the troubles of aldehyde content in Brazil during 2015 it is expected that there will be more demand for the South African material.
The climate and weather conditions are very stable in South Africa and natural disasters are very few and far between. Whatever the reason, South Africa’s citrus market has had the luxury of no poor climatic conditions to contend with or diseases like greening (HLB). This has kept year on year production increasing at a healthy organic rate.
In view of the adequate rainfall and the increase in planted area, this year’s predictions for orange production are positive. Estimates show an anticipated growth of about 8% to 1.47 million MT in 2017- 18 MY. The area planted to orange trees is estimated at 44,000 ha. There has been a proliferation of planted areas in the main growing regions of Limpopo, Eastern Cape, and Mpumalanga. Altogether these regions are the largest contributors with about 82% of the total orange production.
Fresh orange exports are estimated to increase 4% in 2017-18 to 1.22 million MT, in part because of increased Chinese demand and South Africa’s successful efforts to address the Citrus Black Spot (CBS) challenge in the EU market, which remains the largest export market. South Africa prioritises supplying fresh oranges to export markets, with surplus oranges supplied to the domestic fresh and processed markets. In 2016-17 the quantity of oranges processed fell to 123,000 MT but is estimated to have increased substantially in 2017-18 to 188,000 MT.
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