As the largest exporter of South African apples and pears and a wholly grower-owned business, Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing growers have more than 7,000 hectares under apple and pear cultivation.
“We represent, more or less, 20% of the South African industry’s apple and pear volume,” says Tru-Cape, Managing Director, Roelf Pienaar adding “harvesting is currently taking place and although still early days we expect a good crop however, we will have to wait and see how the crop comes in and how the final numbers will compare to last year. We are showing growth in the right varieties, which is positive for the years ahead.”
According to Pienaar, the biggest obstacles currently relate to logistics in the total supply chain. Costs increases this year will be another major obstacle. These increases are across the value chain not just in South Africa but also in the market. This is not only driven by freight-cost increases, but also due to increasing production costs of more than 15%,” he says.
Pienaar mentions that global price inflation is a reality and with inflation at record levels in the UK, Europe and US, the consumer will have to pay more for fruit and vegetables. These cost pressures are everywhere and it seems like there is nowhere to hide currently. “As a wholly grower-owned business, and vertically-integrated company, Tru-Cape is in a good position to supply the market efficiently and reliably. Our job is to ensure growers can re-invest, although looking at the macro and political environment in 2022 it will definitely be a challenging year,” Pienaar says.
“On the global front, other apple and pear producers in Chile and New Zealand are facing similar challenges with double-digit increases in freight costs. Producers and exporters must also cope with a fluctuating exchange rates having an impact on both their input costs as well as their revenue.
“Last year Tru-Cape exported close to 18% more volume compared to the previous year, which is encouraging and an indication of growing markets around the world. However, the impact of significantly higher freight costs and other logistical challenges could hit the industry hard in 2022.“In terms of our cultivar mix Golden Delicious remains an important cultivar and represents about 21% of our apple basket, Royal Gala at 15%, Granny Smith at 13%, Pink Lady at 12%.
“Top export markets for the South African industry for apples remain the Far East which, in 2021, took almost 29% of our exports, followed by exports into Africa at 27%, the UK at 18%, and then the Middle East at 9%.
“Pear exports from South Africa are more weighted towards Europe, the Far East and Russia who took 26%, 21% and 17% respectively.
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