South African topfruit remains steady

For fresh fruit and vegetable marketing and distribution in Asia
Fred Meintjes

BY FRED MEINTJES

South African topfruit remains steady

Country's apple crop pegged at 35m cartons, with pears set for a 17.8m carton return

South African topfruit remains steady

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South Africa says it will have a normal apple and pear export crop this year, despite drought causing problems in certain areas.

At a forecast of nearly 35m cartons, the apple export crop is expected to be 3 per cent up on last year, while at 17.8m cartons the pear export crop will be more or less the same as last year.

Sources have told Eurofruit that they expect another tough year in Europe and the UK for South African apples, but there will be more opportunities for pears. In announcing the first crop forecast of the season Hortgro confirmed this by saying that a tough season in terms of grower returns and profitability levels is anticipated.

“This is a result of the strengthening of the Rand against the major currencies, such as the US Dollar, UK Pound and Euro," the group said. “A normal pomefruit season is anticipated despite drought conditions affecting certain production areas. Although initially fruit size is slightly smaller than expected, the overall eating quality, including sugar content, is very good. In general, colour development and cosmetic pack-outs looks promising at this stage.”

Hortgro says the harvesting season started a week later compared with the previous season. The increase in apple volumes is mainly the result of new plantings and young orchards coming into production.

The major varieties contributing to the growth in apple export volumes are Fuji (+7 per cent), Royal Gala/Gala (+3 per cent) and Golden Delicious (+2 per cent).

Despite the growth in pear plantings over the last couple of years, volumes are expected to be in line with last year.

A decrease in export volumes of Williams Bon Chretien (-16 per cent) is expected due to smaller fruit size, as well as strong demand from the canning industry and a lack in demand from Northern Hemisphere importing countries.

On the other hand, export volumes of Packham’s Triumph (+3 per cent), Forelle (+3 per cent) and Abate Fetel (+5 per cent) are expected to increase compared with the previous season.

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