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Wouter le Roux, It’sofresh

Airfreight company diversifying into sea freight of apples, citrus & avos

It’sofresh is a South African company that specialises in air freight of exotics to Europe and the Middle East, like papaya and pineapples to the latter or passionfruit and bird’s eye chillies to Europe.

Their litchi season was over by the end of November, which was fortunate given the following French strike, says Wouter le Roux, managing director.

“There’s a window of two or three weeks during which South Africa can send litchis to Europe and then when the first vessel docks in the south of France with fruit from Madagascar, you can forget about airfreight.”

The airfreight litchi season starts mid-November

Dragonfruit exports
“The really exciting thing we’re doing now is the dragon fruit, which we’ve started exporting with Origin Fruit. I’ve actually been looking to export dragon fruit for three or four years."

"There’s a definite opportunity overseas for pink-fleshed dragonfruit, in Switzerland for instance, and it gets a bit of a premium, but there aren’t really large volumes grown in South Africa yet.”

Rain had big impact on export mini-veg
On mini-vegetables heavy rain in the central parts of the country has for the past three years complicated the season, particularly this year and two years ago. 

“Our growers are in Gauteng and during those two weeks of rain we had recently producers couldn’t get into the fields to harvest and product becomes too large. We can’t complain about the rain, but it’s the third year in a row and we’re sitting with a tenth of the product that we wanted. There’s a shortage of product all round and you can’t do anything about it. You can’t buy in product, there’s none available.”

Mini aubergines in the It'sofresh product line (photos: Wouter le Roux)

Late Spanish & Italian stonefruit shorten window for early SA stonefruit
The window for early South African airfreight stonefruit is becoming shorter due to late Spanish and Italian stonefruit and therefore the early airfreight business isn’t what it was ten, fifteen years ago, Wouter notes.

Purely because of climate and hot winters, the kumquat season, normally April to September, has ended earlier than usual for the past three years.

The fruit tends to become soft on the tree because of the heat which unfortunately cut short the tail-end of the kumquat season for them again this year.

Diversification into sea freight
It’sofresh is looking to diversify into the sea freight business. Wouter says: "Avocados are high on my priority list in terms of sea freight. We’d like to export avos by sea this coming year already.”

Other areas of interest are apples and citrus.

For more information:
Wouter le Roux
It’sofresh
Tel: +27 82 905 5481
+27 12 997 2980
Email: wouter@itsofresh.co.za


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