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Increased demand for South African mangoes in EuropeThe mango season came to an early end in South Africa this season. It was by no means an easy season due to hail at the end of last year and extreme temperatures during the growing season.
Erwee Topham from Alliance Fruit said that "The mango harvest finished at the end of February, around a month earlier than normal. We had hail damage in the Hoedspruit area which destroyed around half of our crop, but the lack of volumes did lead to better prices."
Traditionally most of South Africa's mango export goes to Africa and the Middle East. Alliance Fruit mainly supply the South African supermarkets and the fresh cut industry and don't go directly to Africa, they do export to the Middle East and sent a container to Europe this year for the first time in years.
"The price on EU markets is increasing and South African mangoes fit into a nice gap in the supply from South America. We supplied the same customers who also take our citrus. We only did one container this season but that will increase in the future," explains Erwee.
In Europe the trend is towards 'ripe and ready' but the South African consumers, for whom the mango is a very well known fruit, know how to ripen the fruit themselves, it also a lot more ripe when sold on the local markets. Mangoes which are sent to Europe are ripened before they go on the shelves.
"Demand for freshcut mangoes is increasing. For the freshcut side of the business we work with In2food to supply the local and UK demand. Our main varieties are Tommy Atkins, Kent and Keitt, we only send fibreless cultivars to Europe. There are some new varieties on the horizon which seem to good fibreless alternatives. Tommy Atikins are good for the local market as people do not mind a bit of fibre and buy for colour/appearance. For us it not so much about the fibre content but about getting good cultivars for the whole season."
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