While shipping challenges remain, due to wind and the concomitant delays all along the logistics chain, the European stonefruit market is definitely not oversupplied, says Jacques du Preez of Hortgro.
“Stonefruit shipments from Chile are considerably down, as are shipments from South Africa, and therefore the stonefruit market is actually very good when you get your fruit there.”
The wind has been less disruptive this month than during February during which the port lost 242 hours due to wind and gusts of very high speed. March has thus far experienced 87 hours of wind delays compared to last year when the entire month of March had 195 hours of wind delays.
Stonefruit and topfruit packhouses were recently forced to temporarily halt packing as the industry ran out of cooling space and plug-in points.
Smaller plums – because of electricity cuts?
Plums are smaller this season, which might be as a result of loadshedding as producers struggle to get through their irrigation scheduling, especially with drip irrigation.
"It’s a suspicion which, of course, we can’t prove.”
Fortunately the Western Cape has had an unusual frequency of rainfall this summer, relieving farmers of their irrigation burden for a few days at least.
“It’s difficult to say whether it was the weather during springtime or during the summer or loadshedding or all of the above which weighed heaviest in fruit development.
Plum season is nearing the end with a significant amount of fruit still to be packed.