After a strong finish to 2020 with growth in apple and pear sales compared with the previous year, leading South African exporter Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing has said it is very positive for the year ahead.
In assessing the coming season, the company said that while uncertain market conditions such as the impact of Brexit and tariffs remain, and the recent volatility of the rand against the US dollar, euro and pound sterling was not helpful, South African agriculture had proved itself despite the effects of Covid-19.
According to Tru-Cape managing director Roelf Pienaar, the company’s 2020 revenue was a record for the company.
“The increase was mainly due to the higher volume of fruit we handled, against the background of a larger crop, as well as higher export prices in rand terms for the 2020 financial year," he explained. "Although the higher rand return was due to the weakening South African currency, we also saw currency inflation in certain markets."
The company sells more than 50 per cent of its fruit on the African continent. “If you keep in mind that at one stage earlier in 2020 we were down on our African sales compared to the previous year, it is good achievement to have grown our overall African footprint by year-end," Pienaar continued. "We have also seen good, solid growth in Europe, Russia and the UK.
“The Middle East turned out to be a particularly important market for Tru-Cape, compared to previous years, and we have seen a solid increase year-on-year," he noted. "South East Asia remains an important destination for our product.
“In South Africa and trade with our immediate neighbours, it is encouraging to note that for the 2020 year, even with Covid-19, and with the borders being closed for a period of time during the year, we still managed to show volume growth on the overall 2019 volume,” Pienaar outlined.
The challenges the company has had to overcome should not be underestimated, he said.
“Tru-Cape, and the industry as a whole, responded to the early news of Covid-19 in March 2020, during the peak picking and packing season, with speed and agility," Pienaar said. "We, and many other businesses, restructured to allow us to continue working remotely. Our logistics team and partner company Link Supply Chain Management successfully managed the many issues in South African ports and global delays in shipping."
According to Pienaar, 2021 looks to be another solid year for Tru-Cape and the South African fruit industry at large.
“We must not forget how we all succeeded in 2020 against the odds," he added. "And, in 2021 we are redoubling efforts to grow better quality fruit and pack to the agreed standard."