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apricot biggest looser -21%

South African stonefruit crop estimate reduced

During weeks 46 and 47 severe and widespread hail and unusual downpours of rain were experienced across the Western Cape, where most of the country’s stonefruit is produced. Jacques Du Preeze from Hortgro explains that, "An accurate estimate of the impact of these occurrences is still very difficult with the severity in many instances only becoming apparent as soon as fruit moves over the pack line."

Cultivars that were in the process of being harvested suffered the greatest losses, but also the ones that would have been picked in the weeks afterwards.
In general terms the impact of the damage on total stonefruit exports is estimated to be in the region of 5-10% (vs previous season), although many individual growers suffered losses much greater than this.

With the best information at hand the stonefruit export crop estimates have been adjusted accordingly.

Apricot exports will likely suffer the most with a decrease of 21% vs last season to 878,000 cartons (4.75kg). The other stonefruit export estimates are: Peaches +4% to 1,437,000 cartons (2.5kg), Nectarines -8% to 3,022,000 cartons (2.5kg) and Plums -4% to 10,866,000 cartons (5.25kg).

SA Stonefruit export crop estimate (12/12/2013)

Click here for larger image

The stonefruit industry has experienced increased production due to establishment of new orchards the last 5 years and this is the main contributing factor softening the blow. So the damage is notable this season, but looking back in history it brings the estimated SA crop down to below average, while steady growth was expected prior to these adverse weather conditions.

In light of the severe frost damage that Chilean stonefruit industry has suffered earlier, one can expect that there will be pressure on supply to the export markets, as the combined effect of supply from these two countries is estimated to be down by 45%+ for plums, peaches and nectarines and 14% down for apricots.

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