The South African avocado export season has been underway since March and 88% of the estimated export volume has already been shipped. The estimate early and mid-season was 15.5 million 4kg cartons, this has been increased to 16.5 million 4kg cartons as market conditions have improved and later regions plan to export more fruit.
“The European and UK markets have not been great this season,” comments Derek Donkin, CEO of South African Avocado Growers Association (SAAGA). “There was a lot of Peruvian fruit on the market and the general climate in Europe was not good. High shipping rates also had an impact on grower returns.”
South Africa had good growing conditions and the avocados have been good quality with good sizing.
“The market has improved and we are now seeing better demand. The increasing cost of living in Europe has meant that it has taken longer than normal for the market to recover, with people having less disposable income they being careful what they spend money on."
Production costs in South Africa have also continued to increase with fuel, fertilizer and agrochemicals prices rising sharply.
Nowadays there are many African countries growing and exporting avocados and this does affect South African growers and exporters.
“They have the same season as South Africa, but will also have been affected by the same issues that we have had to face. An increase in the volumes of avocados will always mean a reduction in price if we do not grow the market.”
South Africa’s biggest export markets have always been Europe and the UK, with small volumes going to The Middle East and a little to Hong Kong.
“We are now making progress into China, we are moving forward and are optimistic about having access soon. India is also looking very positive, we have a delegation coming next week to check our systems and are confident of having access soon. Japan is also looking good. These new markets will not take large volumes initially but there is great potential for expansion in the coming years.”