The marketing director of one of South Africa’s leading apple exporters says he welcomes the chance for a “back to normal” season after last year’s hail-affected campaign.
“With the early season, there’s always a bit of pressure on tonnage. The volume is a little lower and maybe a little bit of pressure on fruit size,” admits Gysbert Du Toit, marketing director of Dutoit Agri. “But for now, market conditions seem stable, and we expect a good crop.”
As reported ten days ago, the country’s apple and pear growers expect an increase in exports this season, which began around a week to ten days earlier than usual towards the beginning of January.
And although suppliers remain concerned about ongoing logistical problems in the Port of Cape Town, compared with more perishable items like plums and nectarines there is more leeway for topfruit shipments when it comes to shelf-life and storage times.
Dutoit faced a challenge with its apple deal in 2023, mainly as a result of excessive hail across many regions. “Our volume was down about 20 per cent,” Du Toit recalls. “But we managed to make up in a big way in the market. If one market was up, we could hold back a little. So, for instance, the UK was reluctant to start with Southern Hemisphere, but then all of a sudden they switched when the Northern Hemisphere quality was marginal.”
Other markets also came good at other times, he recalls. “Europe gained momentum after a shaky start in February and March. Asia was constant. India was great in the beginning, while Bangladesh became a big market for us with a huge run leading up to Ramadan. Africa was also successful.”
Eurofruit Magazine’s upcoming Fruit Logistica Edition – Part II includes Fresh Focus South Africa, a special publication that features the latest trends and developments in the country’s fruit export business. To get your copy, visit Fruitnet’s stand A-50 in Hall 5.2.