Due to adverse weather events like hail and floods earlier in the year, Hortgro has revised its export forecasts for the 2023 season. The estimated export volume for apples is 40.883 million cartons (12.5 kilograms per carton), showing a 10% decline compared to the 2022 season, with a reduction of approximately 4.375 million cartons. The pear export forecast is 17.195 million cartons, indicating a 19% decrease, with 4 million cartons fewer than the previous season.
In November and December of 2022, the main apple and pear-producing regions in South Africa experienced severe hailstorms. The Langkloof region experienced another hailstorm in March of this year, affecting both the quantity and quality of pears. Additionally, in June, the Western Cape province experienced heavy rainfall and strong winds. Luckily, by this time the apple and pear harvests were finished and all the fruit was in cold stores.
Among various apple varieties, there are significant reductions expected in the export volumes of Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Braeburn and Cripps Pink, with year-on-year decreases of 24%, 19%, 18% and 17%, respectively. Fuji apple exports, the most popular cultivar exported to China, are projected to decrease by 12%, reaching 3.953 million cartons. Regarding pear exports, South Africa’s major producing varieties, Packham’s Triumph and Forelle, are expected to witness declines of 8% and 15%, respectively. The Cheeky variety, which has been significantly imported by China, is estimated to have an export volume of 581,000 cartons, representing a 21% decrease from the previous season. Except for the Celina and Sempre varieties, the exports of other pear varieties are expected to decline to varying degrees, with the Doyenne Du Comice variety experiencing the most significant drop of 54%.
Based on Hortgro’s export statistics, as of week 29, the total number of apples inspected for export was 31.264 million cartons, reflecting a 3% decrease compared to the same period last year. Regarding Royal Gala/Gala apples that have passed inspection, the quantity increased by 4% over the same period last year. Among all the varieties, Golden Delicious experienced the most significant drop, decreasing by 19%.
The total number of pears inspected for export was 14.784 million cartons in week 29, which represents a 13% decrease compared to the same period last year. Among the main export varieties, Packham’s Triumph showed a 6% increase, while Forelle decreased by 8% and Vermont Beauty underwent a substantial drop of 17%.
Despite the overall decline in South Africa’s apple and pear exports to the global market, exports to the Chinese market have experienced a countertrend increase.
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