An upsurge in farm ­repossessions in South Africa has sparked fears of a fall in the country's citrus production, much of which goes for export.

The ANC-run government has stepped up the return of white-owned farms to the land's original inhabitants, especially in the north. But Capespan, which sources 40% of its citrus in South Africa, said it was confident it would have no trouble honouring programmes with retailers. "It provides a challenge for us, but it's ­different to Zimbabwe. It's not forced repossession - many farmers are willing sellers and the government pays a good price," said trading director Martin Dunnett.

Most farms taken over by black South Africans have produced high quality produce, he added. Capespan buys fruit from several of the transferred farms.

"The government has recognised agriculture has a major economic presence, and is helping the incumbents of repossessed farms to overcome the problems keeping up crop quality."