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Derek Donkin - Subtrop

South African avo crop: larger sizes and a million more cartons expected

The first export estimate for the 2020/21 South African avocado season is set at 16 million 4kg equivalent cartons. It is a million cartons up on last year’s eventual export crop.

Despite this being an off year in the alternate bearing cycle of South African avocado orchards, the many new orchards coming into production buffer the drop in volumes.

Moreover, Derek Donkin, CEO of Subtrop (umbrella body for the subtropical fruit industry) points out, packouts are expected to be higher because of improved fruit size, a direct result of the sustained rains during the summer thus far.

“We expect fruit to be larger this year, given the good rains we’ve been having, which will allow a greater percentage of the avocados to be exported.”

New avocado plantings account for the rise in volumes

No significant delay to season start expected
The other major win from the good early summer rainfall has been seen in the level of the Tzaneen Dam which stands at 46% this week; 40% higher than this time last year.

In the early area of Levubu some avocado growers have noted that the moisture levels in their fruit were slow to drop, as the soil is fully saturated, but Derek doesn’t reckon that the rain will significantly delay the start of the season.

“Picking should start in weeks 7 and 8, with first arrivals in Europe by weeks 11 or 12. That’s still a few weeks off and at this stage we don’t expect it to be later than usual.”

For more information:
Derek Donkin
Tel: +27 15 307 3676

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