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Outrage as tons of citrus dumped in EC

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The Citrus Growers Association says it is aware of an Eastern Cape farmer who dumped millions of cattle grade lemons and oranges in an open field.

A video shot by a truck driver emerged on twitter on Monday and drew instant condemnation as it shows ton upon ton of lemons and oranges dumped outside Patensie.

The trucker's video goes on for more than 40 seconds - such is the extent of the dumping of the citrus in neat piles in an open area alongside the road.

The Citrus Growers Association says in a statement that several factors underpin the dumping of citrus fruit in South Africa and that these are associated with a range of serious challenges affecting the local citrus industry.

The Association's CEO Justin Chadwick says the industry currently faces increased production costs, a major rise in farming input costs and a decline in real export prices, which are likely to remain for the next few years.

Chadwick says it is thus not unusual for citrus growers to dump fruit that is not fit for human consumption in areas where it can be used for cattle and game feed.

He says AgriSA is also engaging with Standard Bank on a scheme that will buy fruit from farmers who cannot sell it elsewhere, so that it can be redirected to communities in need.

Chadwick says The Citrus Growers Association continues to work with government and all other stakeholders in a collective effort to help ensure the continued profitability and sustainability of the local citrus industry, which sustains over 130 000 jobs and generates R30 billion in export revenue for the country.