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Anton Ferreira – Limestone Hill

Dried pineapple prices keeping pace with inflation

Limestone Hill in Bathurst, Eastern Cape, has over the fifteen years in which they have focused on pineapple drying, expanded that component of their business.

“We are at capacity in terms of production for now and have had to turn clients away,” explains Anton Ferreira. “We are looking at increasing production and capacity in order to meet these clients’ needs.”

Limestone Hill is drying between 250 and 300 tonnes of Cayenne pineapples a year, 99% of which is exported to mainly the EU and UK with a small portion sold locally. He observes that South Africa receives strong competition on dried pineapple from West Africa, South America and Asia.

Cayenne pineapples flourish in the Bathurst district of the Eastern Cape (photos supplied by Limestone Hill)

“The price of dried pineapple surged in 2016 and then dropped hard (for pineapples in general). The price of the dried goods has remained stable with inflation matching increases.”

He notes that the exchange rate has played a role in keeping their product competitive.

“We export full refrigerated containers from the farm and send partial loads to other destinations within South Africa to be shipped by different clients,” Anton says. “Most of the goods are sent via cargo ships. Depending on the packaging and the size of the container, we send from 9 tonnes to 20 tonnes per shipment that we pack ourselves.”

He remarks that they did not see a marked decrease in demand for dried pineapple due to Covid, but at one point they did run short of fruit to dry as a result of the massive increase in demand for fresh pineapples.

Good prospects for secondary pineapple products
He says there is still space for canning and juicing, but the focus is on drying and adding downstream value.

Anelisa Budaza and Nokutula Dama from Limestone Hill Farm

“There are good prospects in processing the waste (skins, cores and flesh) into a variety of different products, from animal feed to juice. Drying has been the best outlet for our class 1 and 2 fruit,” he says, noting that class 3 pineapples are too small for drying.

They have, he notes, not turned away from fresh programmes with supermarkets, where they’re looking for the right partners and the right approach.

For more information:
Anton Ferreira
Limestone Hill Farm
Tel: +27 46 6250 815


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