Citrus Improvement Scheme: About Us

Objective

The objective of the CIS is to increase the profitability of the Southern African Citrus Industry, by ensuring that growers are supplied with nursery trees of the highest possible quality made from the best genetic citrus material and being free from any harmful pathogens.

Established

The CIS was established in 1973 as a joint project between the SA Co-operative Citrus Exchange and the Citrus and Subtropical Fruit Research Institute (CSFRI). During the interim phase certified budwood was obtained from trees of various cultivars that were selected in commercial orchards. In 1977, shoot-tip grafting was introduced at the CSFRI in order to provide a virus-free source of budwood material. The Outspan Foundation Block was established in 1980, releasing the first virus-free certified budwood in 1984 and the first certified seed in 1986. From April 2002, Citrus Research International became responsible for the CIS and the Citrus Foundation Block.

Certification

Nurseries producing certified trees must be certified in accordance with a quality management system and are audited twice a year for this purpose. A certified tree must be made from certified propagation material, tested for pathogens 4 times per annum, and found to be free of harmful pathogens before delivery.

As a result of a sharp decline in demand for trees, the number of nurseries participating in the CIS decreased from 46 in 1999 to 21 in 2012. An application has been submitted to the Department of Agriculture to make the CIS a statutory scheme, which, if approved, will make the sale of uncertified trees unlawful. Tree certification is a pre-requisite for GlobalGAP accreditation.

More Information

Please feel free to contact the CIS Manager, Dr. Paul Fourie at phf@cri.co.za.