South African avocado industry looking forward to a good year

The South African avocado industry is looking forward to a good year; there is increasing demand for avocados, both locally and internationally. Derek Donkin, CEO of the South African Avocado Growers Association reports that the industry expects 2018’s crop to weigh in at 125,000 tons.

Half of this produce is destined for the export market, 40% will be consumed locally in the form of fresh avocados, the remaining 10% will be processed into foods such as guacamole and avocado oil.

Donkin says that, with the considerable health attributes of avocados having gained greater recognition around the world, demand for the fruit is on the rise. The South African industry is gearing to keep pace with this. At present, commercial avocado plantings in South Africa total 17,000 hectares, a figure which is growing by approximately 1 000 hectares per year. This expansion ensures that the industry is able to accommodate the growing local and export market.

Summer varieties available
Although South Africa’s avocado season traditionally runs from March to October, plantings have expanded into areas where cultivars can be harvested through November and December. As described on zululandobserver.co.za, this not only means that South Africans can enjoy year-long availability, it also reduces the country’s reliance on imports from the northern hemisphere. Donkin says that, besides catering to consumer needs, the industry’s growth carries several advantages, including much needed job creation in rural areas.

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