South Africa finalises protocol for avocado shipments, increasing the country’s options in the Far East

South African access to the avocado consumer markets of the Far East has been boosted by the finalisation of a protocol for shipments to Japan.

South African avocados

In October, South Africa signed a protocol for shipments to China and good progress has been made to get access to India.

Together these markets will bring a whole new dimension to South Africa’s avocado export programme, which in the past has leaned mainly on the UK and Europe.

“It is indeed good news for us that the protocol for exports of South African Hass avocados to Japan has been finalised,” said Subtrop chief executive Derek Donkin.

“The first shipments will probably take place around June this year once all the necessary registrations and inspections of farms and packhouses have been done and the fruit is mature enough to withstand the required cold treatment protocol (2°C for 19 days).”

The country’s avocado growers are also getting ready to export to China, and the first shipments could take place from April onwards.

In the case of India, South Africa is waiting for the Indian government to feedback on proposed protocols.

“We are having a workshop with our government officials this month to discuss final requirements for exports to China,” Donkin confirmed. ”The aim at this stage is to be ready to do the first shipments to China in April or May this year.

“Regarding India, we are waiting for feedback from the Indian government on proposed protocols. We are hoping that protocols will be finalised before the upcoming Indian elections which will probably take place in April or May.

”After the protocols have been finalised, we will have to do the necessary registrations, etc as are also required for export for China,” he said.

Meanwhile, South African avocado growers are getting ready to start harvesting in the early regions of country in February, with first shipments to the UK and Europe due to start in early March.

The avocado industry is in a growth phase and in recent times early production in the north of the country and later growing regions in the Southern Cape have extended the local and international supply season considerably.

It is expected that increased access to the Far East will further boost growth in production in the industry.