Last week the Board of the South African Avocado Growers’ Association elected Clive Garrett, who previously held the position as vice-chair, to chairperson of the organisation for the next two years.
Clive, a keen cyclist and chartered accountant by training, is also marketing manager at Mooketsi-based ZZ2, one of South Africa’s best-known tomato and, these days, avocado producers.
Right: Clive dropping down into the Umkomaas Valley, KwaZulu-Natal, during the three-day KAP sani2c race
He says that market access will be his and the board’s main focus area. “Although South Africa has a very strong foothold in Europe this is currently the only market where we can send our fruit.”
The new harvest has started and 16 million 4kg cartons are expected this season, a million up on last year. The recent excellent rains will have a beneficial effect on the sizing of the crop, growers say.
Market access to Japan and India almost there
He notes that the organisation was very close to opening Japan and India for South African avocados, “but then Covid happened. As we return to a semblance of normality we will continue to work with our authorities in getting these markets open. We are also working very hard to get the USA and China open to avocados.”
Young avocado orchard in Tzaneen, Limpopo
Optimising existing markets and opening new markets are a function of the SAAGA’s vision to maximise grower returns.
Local per capita avocado consumption remains very low as compared to Europe and the USA, he remarks, which is an impetus to continue with SAAGA’s annual consumer awareness programmes to increase demand.
SAAGA will continue to promote production efficiency and improve sustainability by providing technical information at study groups, on the SAAGA app, via the SAAGA website and in the quarterly Subtrop Journal. He says that workshops will be arranged in the production regions to cover topics such as accreditations (GlobalG.A.P, SIZA, and so forth) and climate change.
Technical development and research (communicated at SAAGA’s annual research symposium) as well as transformation of the industry to include black farmers are two other key performance areas to which the SAAGA board applies itself.
“I believe SAAGA has a very strong management team that the board can work with to achieve the key performance areas we have set for ourselves. I look forward to the challenges ahead and in taking SAAGA to even greater heights.”