South Africa avocados landscape

The South African avocado export forecast has been cut by some 2m cartons as the effects of Covid-19 on international markets becomes clearer.

South Africa is now expected to export around 16m cartons, as opposed to the 18m originally forecast.

“It is clear that with the closure of hotels, restaurants and other sectors of the hospitality business the demand for especially green skin avocados is reduced,” said Derek Donkin of the South African Subtropical Growers Association (Subtrop).

“It is also not easy to achieve normal supplies to the Baltic States and Southern Europe. Our marketing committee has therefore agreed that we should adjust the forecast.”

Donkin added that at this point sales were mainly focused on the retail sector.

Export programmes have been running fairly smoothly with good demand so far this year. However, with the main arrivals from Peru expected later this month, the mid-season period will see higher supply levels, Donkin said.

While normal activities regarding market access are restricted by disruption in air travel, there are some important discussions taking place within the industry.

Subtrop said planned inspection visits for Japanese officials would take place as soon as things return to normal, while negotiating access to the Indian market is also “very close”.

Access to both these countries will bring a new dimension to South Africa’s international avocado marketing activities.

Meanwhile, domestic are going well, but have also been affected by the closure of hospitality sectors.

“We believe that our avocados are marketed at attractive price levels and that is important to maintain momentum. It offers good value for money,” said Donkin.