“We didn’t have the best winter, as the cold came a bitlate. Some growing regions didn’t have enough rain, so the dams aren’t fullenough. It’s a bit of a tight situation,” Jacques du Preez from HortGro explains.
As the country moves into spring, growers need enough water,however too much water and cold could make the situation worse and it will be achallenge for some growers as they attempt to manage their water supplies forthe rest of the season.
Some of the Asian markets have opened their doors to SouthAfrican stone fruit, however, not as many as for apples yet, says Jacques.
“We are waiting with a lot of anticipation for plans to getinto China,” he explains. “But this will take a number of years. The East isstill a growing market for us, if you look at what Chile sends to the East, youcan see that the potential is there. We just need to grow and develop thesemarkets and start exporting there.”
There has been a lot of new hectares of plums, nectarinesand peaches planted according to Jacques, however he expects similar volumes tolast season, perhaps a little on the up side.
“Apricots are the exception. There haven’t been newplantations, so I expect them to be slightly down,” he concludes. “The marketfor apricots is under a lot of pressure, due to the difficult timing aroundChristmas and just a lack of popularity, as well as varying quality andshipping.”