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South African avocado and mango exporters focus on new markets

According to Subtrop CEO Derek Donkin, who was one of the speakers at the annual Subtrop Marketing Symposium held in White River, Mpumalanga late last year, gaining and maintaining market access for South Africa’s litchis, mangoes and avocados is one of the biggest focus areas for the future.

“This includes cultivar development to ensure we have the right varieties for specific markets, and adhering to phytosanitary requirements and maximum residue levels (MRLs) in our export markets. The latter two are especially becoming more stringent and non-compliance could cost us existing markets.”

Accordng to Donkin, gaining access to new markets was a notoriously slow process, taking on average 15 years. “We are expecting some progress on the US and Chinese markets in 2019 to enable avocado and mango exports to those countries. These are currently the two countries that hold the biggest potential for our produce.”

While export markets were needed in peak season for mangoes when there was an oversupply in the market, Pieter Buys, SA Mango Growers’ Association chairman, noted that the local industry was for the most part more profitable than export markets. “International prices are not necessarily more lucrative, especially when you consider the cost to export and market the product in those countries. In India the price can be as little as $0.60/kg and in China $1/kg.”

Buys is positive about the outlook for mangoes and expects demand to grow globally, especially considering the versatility of the fruit. “Available land for planting more mangoes is however limited and since demand is expected to increase, prices will follow the same upward trend.”


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