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Ramadan boosts date consumption in South Africa

Insatiable global demand for avocados

“Demand for avocados has grown exponentially as people realise its health benefits – if we doubled or quadrupled, or even go ten times bigger, we’d still find a market for our avocados,” says Clive Garrett, marketing manager of ZZ2, whose Hass harvest is over, while the Ryan harvest will continue until the end of the month. He notes that the Ryan harvest is looking good. 

“The season has been very good. At the start we had a bit of a window on the European market because of Peru’s problems with floods which affected their infrastructure and logistics. Prices have since come down slightly but it’s still above last year.” 

As for size, Garrett says that the fruit tend to be on the smaller side due to the drought, but that it hasn’t had a significant impact. “When people want fruit, they want fruit and they’re prepared to make a compromise.” 

On the local market, South Africans have also had to pay for their appetite for avocados, from R10 (€0.69) per unripe avocado to R17 (€1.18) or more for a ripe-and-ready avocado. Supply is low but due to small counts, prices have come down slightly to around R70 (€4.86) or R80 (€5.55) for a 4,5kg bag on the open market. 

ZZ2 has started investing in date production in the Orange River region in Namibia during the last couple of years, a production line that is showing great promise. “Demand has outstripped supply, especially now during Ramadan, and prices are excellent, around R120 [€8.33] per kilogram. We don’t yet have the volumes for export, so for the moment everything is marketed on the Johannesburg fresh produce market, but we expect volumes to double next year and double again the year after as the trees reach maturity,” he says. “We keep the dates in cold storage, at -25°C until they go to the market. Because of the high sugar content it doesn’t freeze even at that temperature – you can take one out of the cold room and eat it.” 

For more information: 
Clive Garrett 
Tel: +27 015 395 8559

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