Chief executive of the South African Fresh Produce Exporters Forum:

'South Africa intent on expanding fresh exports to Russia'

South Africa wants to increase its exports of fresh produce to Russia, said chief executive of the South African Fresh Produce Exporters Forum, Anton Kruger, on Wednesday.

Kruger, speaking on the sidelines of the World Food Moscow exhibition in Russia, said South Africa had seen a steady export growth in pears, apples and table grapes, although the bulk is still citrus, since 2017.

"Russia continues to be an important market for us as 10 percent out of 2.7 million tons of fresh fruit exported from South Africa comes to Russia. At one stage it was 12 percent, but in 2016 it dropped to about six percent because of new label requirements that were introduced by the Euro Agent Commission," Kruger said.

"These  added a lot of cost and additional effort in South Africa to ship products, but since 2017 the volumes picked up again and we are now back at 10 percent."  

According to¸ Kruger said this year's sixth participation at the World Food Moscow was key in that their Russian counterparts and clients appreciated their continuous engagements on these kinds of platforms.

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