Deregulation in the South African citrus industry

Sinclair, Andries Ignatius (2003-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The South African citrus industry was deregulated in 1997. Before deregulation only Outspan could export citrus from South Africa and no other export company was allowed to do so. The deregulation process was not gradual, but came suddenly and the industry changed from fully regulated to deregulated in a very short time. This sudden deregulation created a lot of uncertainty in the industry. More than one hundred new fruit export companies were established within a year after deregulation. Most of these new entrants had very little experience in exporting citrus. Many of them went bankrupt within a year or two and many citrus producers suffered considerable financial losses as a result. Producers had no experience in exports themselves and many were not qualified to choose reputable export companies to export their fruit. The face of the industry has been changed unrecognisably. In the past there was one big company exporting all the citrus from South Africa. After deregulation a lot of small to medium fruit export companies were established. These companies playa very important role in the industry as it stands today. Deregulation also opened the door for big international fruit marketing and distribution companies to enter the South African fruit business. After some years of chaos and very little reliable information available in the industry in terms of volumes produced and exported, the industry is stabilising. A number of industry bodies like the Citrus Exporters Forum (CEF) and Citrus South Africa (CSA) have been formed to represent the exporters and the producers. These bodies have formed the Joint Marketing Forum (JMF) that meets every month to discuss marketing and industry-related issues jointly. The debate with regards to deregulation rages on. Most industry role players are supportive of less regulation and free market principles. However, deregulation could have been more gradually phased in. This would have given more people, especially producers, the chance to adapt to the new environment. Most role players are of the opinion that the citrus industry is more market driven and more competitive after deregulation than before. Taking a look at the South African citrus industry in the future, there will be increased competition due to increased volume of citrus produced world wide. Producers can therefore no longer produce unwanted varieties or produce in marginal areas where the yields are low. Producers must take their destiny in their own hands and must educate themselves in the export process so that they can make the right decisions about production and exports. As a result of increased competition and lower margins the distribution chain must be as short as possible with as few middle men as possible. As a result of this producer exporters are on the increase.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Suid Afrikaanse sitrusbedryf is in 1997 gedereguleer. Voor deregulering kon slegs Outspan sitrus uit Suid Afrika uitvoer en geen ander maatskappy is toegelaat om dit te doen nie. Die dereguleringsprosess was nie geleidelik nie, maar die industrie het van ten volle gereguleerd tot gedureguleer verander in 'n baie kort tyd. Die skielike deregulering het gelei tot groot onsekerheid in die industrie. Meer as eenhonderd nuwe vrugte uitvoermaatskappy is binne 'n jaar na deregulering gevorm. Meeste van die nuwe rolspelers het baie min ondervinding in die uitvoer van sitrus gehad. Baie het dan ook bankrot gespeel binne 'n jaar of twee en baie sitrusprodusente het groot finansiële verliese gelei as gevolg daarvan. Meeste produsente het ook geen ondervinding in uitvoere gehad nie 'en was dus nie gekwalifiseerd om betroubare uitvoermaatskappye te kies om hulle sitrus uit te voer nie. Die gesig van die industry is onherkenbaar verander. Tydens regularing was daar slegs een groot maatskappy wat alle sitrus van Suid Afrika af uitgevoer het. Na deregulering is 'n groot aantal klein tot medium vrugte uitvoermaatskappye gevorm. Hierdie maatskappye speel 'n baie belangrike rol in die industrie soos dit tans lyk. Deregulering het ook die deur vir groot internasionale vrugtebemarkings en distribusiemaatskappye oopgemaak om die Suid Afrikaanse industrie te betree. Na 'n aantal jare van chaos en baie min betroubare informasie wat beskikbaar was in terme van volume geproduseer en uitgevoer, is die industrie besig om te stabiliseer. Daar is ook 'n aantal industrieliggame soos die Sitrus Uitvoerders Forum en Sitrus Suid Afrika gevorm om die belange van uitvoerders en produsente te verteenwoordig. Hierdie liggame het die Gesamentlike Bemarkings Forum gevorm wat elke maand vergader om bemarking en ander industrie aangeleenthede gesaamentlik te bespreek. Die debad met betrekking tot deregularing is steeds aan die gang. Meeste industrierolspelers ondersteun minder regulering en vryemark beginsels. Hulle stem egter saam dat die dereguleringsproses meer geleidelik ingefaseer moes word. Dit sou produsente meer tyd gegee het om aan te pas by die nuwe omgewing. Meeste rolspelers is van die opinie dat die sitrusindustrie in Suid Afrika meer markgerig en ook meer kompeterend geword het na deregulering. In die toekoms kan verwag word dat daar meer kompetisie in die sitrusbedryf sal wees as gevolg van 'n toename in sitrusproduksie wêreldwyd in sitrusproduserende lande. Produsente kan dus nie meer ongewenste variëteite produseer of sitrus produseer in marginale areas waar opbrengste laag is nie. Produsente moet hulle toekoms in hulle eie hande neem en moet die uitvoerproses leer ken sodat hulle die regte besluite kan neem oor produksie en uitvoere. As gevolg van toenemende kompetisie en kleiner marges moet die logistiekeketting so kort en koste effektief as moontlik gehou word. As gevolg hiervan is produsente uitvoermaatskappye aan die toeneem.

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