The new Sharon Fruit harvest kicked off last week, a week or more earlier than usual, to the relief of buyers at the Johannesburg and Pretoria fresh produce markets, always the first to receive the new season’s fruit.
The first exports to Singapore will also commence now. Consumers in Singapore love the fruit, says Hein Smal of MOR in South Africa (MISA). It is a market that takes smaller-sized fruit.
“Exports to Europe will follow and we have been getting a fair amount of enquiries,” he says.
“Before the trucks left for Gauteng, we were a bit uncertain how it would go under the Covid-19 lockdown regulations, but it went smoothly,” says Hein Smal.
“Demand was good and on the first day sales went well. We didn’t send too much in the first consignment. The second consignment arrived at the market yesterday morning and we expect it will be sold out before the start of Easter weekend.”
Usually there are very strong prices in Gauteng at the start of the Sharon-Fruit season. These are prices that can’t be matched at Cape Town market this time of the year, due to competition from the last stone-fruit and grapes. Consumers in the Cape will only start getting their first Sharon Fruit of the season from the end of this month.
Sharon Fruit on the packline at the Buffeljagtsrivier packhouse (photos supplied by Hein Smal)
“This is no normal season,” says Hein Smal, “but we expect Sharon Fruit sales to benefit from the healthy image of the fruit, which includes a high vitamin C content.”
The volumes packed is expected to increase rapidly from now on, reaching a peak by the second week of May. The season normally runs until the end of June.
After a difficult season last year, the Sharon Fruit industry is expecting a bigger harvest this year, with better sizing and good quality.