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360 - Down South

Hooking fruit to India’s love of cricket pays off

Last year's test run – pardon the pun – with South African citrus to India and Bangladesh under the aegis of cricketer AB de Villiers' 360 brand, confirmed what Down South was hoping for: the emotional attachment to cricket is a massive springboard into the Indian subcontinent. Down South has an exclusive agreement with AB de Villiers in collaboration with the 360 brand.

AB de Villiers, retired international cricketer, with apples packed into his 360 brand, in partnership with Down South

They'd approached the cricket batsman to sell fruit through his brand. De Villiers had played in the Indian Premier League, where he's known for his batting prowess as Mr 360 for sending the ball all over the cricket pitch and has a very large following on all his online platforms in India.

"We knew the brand would appeal to the market but we didn't anticipate it would get quite so big so quickly. Clients were very happy with the quality of our citrus and they're extremely positive about the 360 brand," says SP Ferreira, marketing and logistics coordinator at Down South.

Last year Down South kicked off their involvement with 360 with citrus (Valencia types, late mandarins and Novas) and this year apples and pears are included for Indian and Bangladeshi retail and wholesale.

Wallace Ferreira and SP Ferreira of Down South accompany AB de Villiers (centre) through an orchard

"Indian consumers prefer: Flash Gala, Cripps Red, Starking, Royal Beaut, Top Red. I'd say 70%+ colour," says Frederick Ferreira, managing director of Down South.

South Africa's pear volumes are below initial expectations, however Down South will still send a fair amount to India to meet their demands.

The apple crop looks strong, closely hewing to the initial estimates so far.

New lemon campaign kicks off
Elsewhere in the world Down South, which has its origins in the Northern and Eastern Cape citrus industry, places citrus and top fruit under its own brand, Down South

They started exporting lemons from the north of South Africa a month ago, packing only for Canadian retail and the Malaysian market at this stage.

"We run with the Canadian retail business from January until the end of October," SP says. "We've been doing it for the past fifteen years and over that time we've mastered the logistics: it's +- 45 days on the water, so you have to be certain of quality. The internals have to be very strong, the sugars and acids high to ensure shelf life."

"Market conditions aren't, in general, very favourable for lemons at this time in other markets," explains Wallace Ferreira, marketing and logistics coordinator.

"Europe seems like they have a big crop of lemons and, depending on the Vernas' quality to the end of the season, it could be a challenging market for our lemons. Also, with the Red Sea situation, Egypt is sending more fruit to Europe than normal. We will only be able to see in a couple of weeks what the situation will be with the Valencias from Egypt, because it is possible that Egypt could be in the market up until July. Hopefully the situation with the Red Sea improves."

"The market is looking positive, the exchange rate is favourable for South African exporters, but logistics remain a question mark," SP adds. "A lot of planning is taking place in preparation for the citrus peak during June."

For more information:
Down South
Tel: +27 21 880 1706