South Africa’s stonefruit growers are meeting this week to take stock of a season which has been severely taxing.
Only very small volumes of Angelino and Flavour Fall plums are still being harvested.
It is clear that plums bore the brunt of water shortages, hail, sunburn and a host of other problems during the season.
The plum crop will be down around 20 per cent compared with last season, with a drop of 11 per cent in late season varieties.
It is anticipated that plum export volumes will end on around 8.75m cartons, falling from last year’s 10.931m cartons.
Nectarines fared much better, with an increase of 3 per cent, and peaches ended at much the same level as last year despite the drought in the Cape’s growing regions.
However, in both cases these categories benefitted from additional plantings coming into production.
In total 4.2m cartons of nectarines were exported compared to last year’s 4.122m. In the case of peaches, shipments reached 2.159m cartons, which on par with last year. Apricots were down 7 per cent at 723,000 cartons.
Hortgro’s Jacques du Preez says the industry will now discuss the season in detail. This post-mortem will include the possible long term impact of the drought.
It has been reported that the water in most of the storage dams in the Western Cape dropped further this week. Earlier reports stated that in most places fruit growers have already received their full allocation of water and it can therefore be assumed that only early winter rains could bring relief.
While elsewhere in the country there has been good rains, the Cape has seen nothing yet so far this autumn.