As the season is progressing, a clearer picture is starting to form for the 2021/22 South African stone fruit season. The plum estimate for fruit packed for the export market has been adjusted to 15.7m cartons (5.25kg equivalents) and resembles a 3% increase on the previous season.
Regarding nectarine exports, an increase of 10%, to 7.1 million cartons (2.5kg equivalents), is expected. Similar to plums, there are a number of new nectarine orchards resulting in continued export volume growth.
Peach volumes are forecast to be slightly down (-3%) on 2020/21 at 2.37 million cartons (2.5kg equivalents). In recent years, dessert peach orchards have seen a decline in total areas planted. The apricot estimate remains the same at 681,000 cartons (4.75kg equivalents) and is on par with the 2020/21 season. Apricot hectares have also experienced a decline in recent years.
Growers are continuously being sensitized to conduct proper thinning practices to ensure good fruit size, as the market for smaller fruit is limited. The crop estimates will be updated regularly and the markets kept informed as the season progresses.