Uncertainty about European market

Nerves ahead of big South African litchi crop

The South African Litchi Growers' Association has finalised the crop estimate for the upcoming litchi season, due to start at its usual time of around mid-November.

It's looking good: a crop of approximately 5,700 tonnes is expected in this "on year", which is a 30% increase on last year's crop of 4,450 tonnes.

Better growing conditions have resulted in good crop set.

On the other hand, the current market situation (especially for a luxury item like litchis) is an unknown that weighs on South African litchi growers.

"We're quite nervous about the season ahead, we don't know the full situation yet in Europe and it's a very big crop that we have this year," a litchi trader tells FreshPlaza.

"We're very concerned at the current state of Europe, plus there are still delays in shipping and air freight remains very challenging."

German supermarket drops South Africa as supplier
He expects it to be a tough season ahead, compounded by the decision of a German supermarket to not take any South African litchis this year.

"Their decision is a big blow to the South African industry," the trader continues. "They used to take a lot of litchis from different production regions in the country."

A heatwave reduced the South African crop last season during its "off year", leading to supply inconsistencies and costing them this particular retailer.

South Africa has a short window in Europe before Madagascar enters the market. 



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