Mouton Citrus: more sweet than sour
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Mouton Citrus: more sweet than sour

After a bumper 2018 with more than 137m boxes of citrus fruit exported to more than 100 countries, the South African citrus industry is expected to remain strong – albeit not on the level it was last year. In 2018, 31,000 metric tons of naval oranges were exported to the United States. In 2019 that number is expected to drop to 21,000 metric tons, which is not a big decrease by any means considering the drought that’s had a hold on the West Coast for several years.

Ah the Cederberg…

The continued stability of the citrus industry good news for companies such as Mouton Citrus, one of South Africa’s leading growers of citrus, as well as Rooibos tea. Stretching out next to the Olifants River in the shadow of the formidable Cederberg Mountains close to Citrusdal, Mouton Citrus started out as a family-run business 35 years ago and has gone from strength to strength since. 

Today the company offers a full basket of citrus varieties navel, juicing and cara cara oranges, late mandarins and minneolas all grown on the farm. The company also supplies well-known tea brand Carmién with the Rooibos enjoyed in tea cups across South Africa.

A familiar sight along the N7 heading north

Giving back

The energy at Mouton Citrus is not spent solely on producing world-class citrus. The company also provide upliftment and opportunities to what’s known as the citrus community through the Mouton Foundation – the company’s social responsibility arm. In 2017, the Mouton Foundation celebrated a decade of giving back with R17m contributed to upliftment since its inception. The foundation’s funding is directly tied to the produce and sale of citrus grown on the farm, which makes the successful implementation of its farming principals all the more important.

Pillar of the community

With representation in just about every school, police forum, non-profit and sports club in Citrusdal, the Mouton Foundation is as much rooted in the town as its orchards are in the banks of the Olifants River. The foundation gives regular donations and provide facilities (halls and sports grounds) for use by the local community.

Giving back right at home…

With regards to health and education, they measure academic results of school children, do formal assessments for pre-school children in centres twice a year by teachers, and have a database for medical statistics measuring and monitoring chronic illnesses, HIV/TB rates, number of family planning interventions done and birth rates.

More sweet than sour

Think of citrus fruit, and you think of Citrusdal (the winter crop is half its name). And although lemon is indeed a citrus, with companies such as Mouton Citrus showing no signs of slowing down its growth or contribution to the community it operates in, the town of Citrusdal will always be associated with the things in life more sweet than sour.

The Mouton Citrus Story

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Video by Mouton Citrus
Witten by Hans Mackenzie
Photos by Andrea Paarman

This weeks article is sponsored by
West Coast Office National