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Citrus growers support levy proposal

Citrus growers support levy proposal

 

CITRUS growers have applied for a substantially increased statutory export levy over the next four-year cycle.

The Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa (CGA) made an application for the approval of the levy to Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza, through the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC).

Details of the proposed new levy were presented to citrus growers across the region through roadshows at the beginning of the year. This culminated in growers being given an opportunity to vote for or against the levy increase, with the majority supporting the proposal.

South Africa’s citrus industry has chalked up a 13% y/y increase in available supplies for export markets this year, according to agricultural economists and chief executive of the CGA, Justin Chadwick

“Growers are hoping increased grower investment to contribute towards a more inclusive, competitive citrus industry. The proposed new levy represents a 120% increase over the current cycle ending in 2020 and translates to an estimated investment of R1 billion over the four-year period.

“The levy has been in place since 2004 and will continue to be administered by the CGA, which represents around 1 250 citrus growers and almost 400 pack houses. The levy is an investment into ensuring the longterm profitability and competitiveness of the industry,” said Chadwick.

The chairperson of the CGA, Cornel van der Merwe, said: “I am pleased with the level of support from citrus growers. This vote of confidence in the work of the association, particularly the focus on research and transformation, bodes well for the future of the citrus industry in South Africa.

“The NAMC has now published the proposed new levy and has invited comment from directly-affected groups by July 31 before the council makes its recommendation to the minister in this regard. Interested and affected parties who would like to submit comment can visit: https://www.namc. co.za for more details.

“This is critical if the sector is to remain competitive in international markets and will include implementing a biosecurity plan to prevent or reduce the impact of disease or pests; strengthening phytosanitary market access and improving efficiency of production,” said Van der Merwe.

Source: Cape Argus

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