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South Africa looks forward to excellent stone fruit export volumes

With favourable winter conditions, enough rain for initial growth and filling of dams and adequate chilling units for good bud-break, the South African stone fruit industry is looking forward to another season of excellent export volumes.

(Please note that this is a theoretical estimate, based on previous performance and area planted under trees. The estimate may change through the course of the season, due to factors such as set, market split, weather conditions etc.)

Apricot exports are estimated at 1.3mil eqv. cartons (4.75kg), which is a 3% increase from the previous season. There is only limited growth in the cultivars that make up the bulk of exports, with the largest growth percentages coming from the relative small volumes of the Suapri cultivars.

Peaches are the biggest grower in volume, although growing from a smaller base than nectarines and plums, with an estimated increase of 12% from the previous season. This brings the estimate to 1.3mil eqv. cartons (2.5kg). Cultivars that make a large contribution to this growth are Rich Lady and Jim Dandy, with large estimated increases in volumes from a relatively high base.

Nectarines experienced a jump of 1million eqv. cartons (2.5kg) from the 2010/2011 to the 2011/2012 season, and is estimated to grow another 10% to 3.9mil eqv. cartons this season. August Red makes a substantial contribution to this growth, with Alpine not estimated at much higher volumes than the previous season.

Export volumes for plums have been growing significantly the past couple of seasons, and the coming season is not estimated to be any different. With exports estimated to be around 10mil eqv. cartons (5.25kg) these volumes have grown 5% from the previous season. Laetitia and Songold, the cultivars with the largest export volumes in South Africa, are not expected to show significant growth this season. Instead the growth is expected to come from some of the fast growing (area planted) cultivars, such as African Delight, and African Rose.

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