South Africa`s production of apples, pears and table grapes is forecast to grow in the 2019/20 MY, based on available irrigation water following improved 2019 winter rainfall, normal weather conditions, and new orchards coming into full production. South Africa is self-sufficient and only imports small quantities of deciduous fruits to fulfill niche markets or to satisfy domestic demand during the off-season when supply is limited. Due to phytosanitary restrictions, the United States only has limited market access to export apples from areas that are free of Rhagoletis pomonella (apple maggot). The United States and South Africa are negotiating to expand this market access to include areas regulated for apple maggot in the United States.
The production of pears is forecast to increase by 1 percent to 415,000 MT in the 2018/19 MY, from 410,000 MT in the 2017/18 MY. This is due to the increase in area planted, available irrigation water following improved 2019 winter rainfall, and improved water management techniques by farmers.
Area planted to pears in South Africa
Pears grow well in areas that do not experience very high temperatures. Similar to apples, about 79 percent of the pear production is in the Western Cape, which is a winter (May to July) rainfall region. The 2019 winter rainfall is used for irrigation in the following year in 2020. Pear production is only expected to return to normal production levels in the 2019/20 MY, based on normal winter rainfall received in 2019 and improved measures by farmers to mitigate drought conditions, e.g. adopting water saving techniques such netting or removing lower yielding older orchards.