Walmart celebrates S. African citrus ties

Levittown Walmart store manager Alan McWelty and Gugulethu Gingqi, consul for trade affairs from the South African Consulate in New York, greet one another at a ceremony on Oct.12 to mark the success of Walmart’s partnership with the Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum. - PHOTO BY JOE KACZMAREK SUBMITTED BY WALMART

Walmart recently marked a long-term relationship that brings South African citrus products to United States consumers with a celebration.

The event, held Oct. 12 at the Walmart Supercenter in Levittown, celebrated the success of the partnership between Walmart and the Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum, a consortium of about 350 South African growers approved to export citrus to the U.S.

“Walmart is among the largest importers of South Africa summer citrus to the U.S.,” said Suhanra Conradie, chief executive officer of the Forum.

“With its wide retail reach, consumers in the US have access to the healthy and delicious citrus at the time when domestic citrus is unavailable.”

South Africa is the second largest exporter of citrus in the world, and has been exporting to the U.S. since 1999.

“Our relationship with South African Citrus has helped further our efforts to provide an affordable supply of healthy, safe food choices to our customers,” said Don Fox, director of global food sourcing for Walmart.

“We count on the reliability and safety of the products we receive from South Africa and we value the growers’ and suppliers commitment to exceed the rigorous standards we set. This partnership has given us confidence that we can always provide the highest quality summer citrus to our shoppers.”

Gugulethu Gingqi, consul for trade affairs at the South African Consulate New York, said the citrus export program is one example of the support Walmart provides to numerous economic programs and emerging industries in South Africa.

“The value of this export program to other emerging industries in South Africa is extremely important to South Africa’s economic future,” said Gingqi.

“This partnership is a prime example of the benefits of AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) and the successful efforts of our import and retail partners. We appreciate the opportunities that Walmart continues to provide for South African products to enter U.S. markets.”

The event held in Levittown was part of a weeklong celebration that included special promotions and samplings of South African oranges at 32 stores throughout the East Coast.

South African summer citrus is exported to the U.S. from June through October when domestic citrus is not available. South Africa’s citrus exports to the U.S. have grown annually to more than 41,000 tons since they began in 1999.

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