The South African lychee season has started a little bit later this season due the effects of last season's drought.

Harvest in the early regions will be about a week or two later, according to Derek Donkin from Subtrop.

"Initial estimates suggest volumes will be at least as good as last year, possibly slightly better," explains Derek. "Weather conditions will play their part in the overall season of course."

The majority of lychees are grown in Mpumalanga, then, nearer the end of the season in January, the production moves to into the Limpopo region.

"There has been some rain in all of the production areas, which is good," according to Derek. "Temperatures have not been too high this season either. Last year at this time some of the production was lost due to the extreme temperatures and there was a lot of sunburnt fruit, but at this stage it seems to be better, so lets hope the weather stays good."

Maurius is the most common Lychee variety and the one mostly exported to Europe. There is also Early Delight, a South African cultivar which is being harvested at the moment. Later in the season the McLeans Red will be harvested.

For more information:
Derek Donkin
South African Subtropical Growers Association
Tel: +27 15 307 3676