A tough season will finish early with logistics making marketing very difficult

South African nectarine and plum exporters are expecting an earlier end to the season when compared with last year.

South Africa Angeleno plums

It is also unlikely that fruit will be kept back in South Africa for later marketing – as has happened in previous seasons – with growers advised to pack and ship all fruit as soon as they are ready to do so.

“This is not the season to take a chance on logistics,” said one exporter. “It is better to get the fruit overseas and manage the marketing from there.”

Hortgro said it was now expecting main category plums to be well down on last year, but nectarines were still expected to be 13 per cent up on the previous season. “

”The season is running between 7 and 14 days earlier than last year,” the industry body outlined.

These are key weeks in the marketing of the South African plum and late nectarine crops, with logistical problems disrupting some of the best laid plans.

“It is a pity,” said one exporter, “because we have generally experienced a strong market.”

Delays in Cape Town have resulted in inconsistent scheduled arrivals – some weeks there would be three vessels and the next nothing.

Exporters said it had made a focused and consistent marketing programme very difficult to execute.

”In the end we hope that returns will make up for the loss in volume,” one exporter concluded.

Plum volumes are projected to end just below 12m cartons, which would be 12 per cent below last year. With the season ending earlier, these volumes may be even further reduced.

The apricot season has concluded with volumes 19 per cent down on last season, with peaches also expected to be some 11 per cent down year-on-year.