More for the domestic market

South Africa exports less avocados

Avocados continue to demand high prices around the globe, which is great news for South African growers in another season of good prices to date. Europe is the major destination for South Africa's avocados, but as the black middle class continues to grow at home the domestic market is becoming more attractive.

It is unlikely that the domestic market will ever match the export volumes, but it is growing at a good rate as consumers become more aware of the benefits of eating healthily. They are being supplied with more than just second class green varieties as the retailers now have increasing volumes of dark skinned avocados on the shelves.

"Prices are good on the domestic market and demand is increasing," according to Derek Donkin, CEO of SA Avocado Growers. "Export volumes will be 11.5 million cartons this season, that is down 1 million on our initial estimate. There are a few reasons for this: the drought had more effect than we had expected and it was also an off year. This, combined with local demand has reduced the export volumes."

There are still significant amounts of avocado trees being planted in South Africa, a staggering 1000 ha per year, when you consider that at the moment there is 16,500 ha planted that will mean a huge increase in volumes over the next few years. South Africa is not the only country making huge expansions in plantings; Mexico, Columbia, Peru, Israel and others are also making significant investments in this fruit.

But looking at the continuing growth in demand in markets around the globe it should be sustainable according to Derek, "China and the US have very strong growth and although South Africa has no access as yet it should come in the future. The annual growth in the US is bigger than our total annual exports."

For more information:
Derek Donkin
South African Subtropical Growers Association
Tel: +27 15 307 3676

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