The first of this season’s avocados from South Africa arrived in the European market in week 10, the total export is expected to be 80,000 tonnes, up 23% on last year.
“Volumes out of South Africa will be up this year due to new plantings coming into commercial volumes,“ said Derek Donkin, CEO of South African Avocado Growers Association (SAAGA). “This growth is likely to continue for a few years.”
The EU and UK markets seem to be holding up and exporters are trying to get volumes in there before the big volumes from Peru start arriving from week 17.
“Prices have not increased over the past 3 years as was the trend in previous years,” comments Derek. “This may be due to people having less spending power, but also due more fruit on the markets. This is why we have to push for new markets, our volumes are going to increase. We are hopeful of gaining access to China, India and Japan very soon.”
South Africa has also seen increasing competition from African countries such a Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, while some of the avocados are exported through South African exporters, most is not and Kenya already has access to China.
“South Africa has to continue producing great quality avocados and stay reliable to compete with these countries.”
South Africa does face many challenges with delays at the ports and on-going loadshedding with many growers and packers having to invest in alternative ways to keep the lights on.
“It is a big challenge for our producers and a big investment when times are tough, but one positive is that it will make us a more sustainable producer. In years past, electricity was relatively cheap, but with substantial price increases recently, investment in alternatives such as solar panels has become far more attractive.”
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