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South African stone fruit season gets off to positive start

The South African stone fruit season is underway again, although early varieties were delayed by 10 days due to a late winter. Some Northern provinces have seen hail damage in the last couple of weeks, growers without the protection of nets have seen more significant damage. This means less fruit for the local market, but also better prices.

Jako van Lill from Fruits Unlimited, a major supplier to the South African Woolworths supermarket, has been supplying them with nectarines for 6 weeks already and says the local market is good. Jako, who also exports to Europe, Asia and the Middle East says the first apricot exports have been sent via air freight and the markets are abroad are also looking good, with not too much volume of stone fruit from the US left over.

Plums will also be later this season, he is looking at weeks 47-48 for the first harvest, but this can still change because the weather has been improving. According to him the fruit-set on the plums is the best he has seen in recent years, only the variety Pioneer may be a bit down in some areas.

Jako van Lill with Floyd Zaiger in California

Fruits Unlimited's new late plum variety Flavor Fall is expected to double in yield this season, reaching 80,000 boxes. The Flavor Fall plum was well received in Europe and Asia last year, with customers asking for bigger volumes this year. A team from South Africa visited California earlier in the year to see how the plum is grown there, according to Jako they learned a lot about growing and managing the crop.

Flavor Fall Growers Day in South Africa

2 weeks ago Fruits Unlimited also held a grower's day for the South African Flavor Fall growers where they shared what they had learned in the US. Jako puts this kind of event and good technical back up for the growers has contributed to the success of the variety.

For more information:
Jako van Lill
Fruits Unlimited
Tel: +27 21 860 1800

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