South Africa’s largest tomato producer, ZZ2, has entered into agreements with more than 50 farmers in the Western Cape who will grow and produce almonds, through its subsidiary, Cape Almonds. The company says as much as 50 tons of locally-grown almonds will be available under the Al Monde brand at South Africa’s various fresh produce markets. It has planted around 700 hectares of Independence almond trees across the Western Cape province.
The Al Monde almonds are sold raw and not roasted, salted, or treated in any way. The launch of the local almonds comes at a time when South Africa faces dumping of the US market’s surplus nuts, Dan Coetzee, head of marketing for the newly convened South African Almond Association said.
California is the world’s largest producer of the nuts and produces 80% of the total. “Due to the oversupply of almonds in the US, South Africa is getting flooded with cheap poor-quality stock. As an association, our main aim is to protect producers and the almond market as a whole and to ensure South Africans consumers get better quality local almonds at competitive prices,” Coetzee said.
Consumers knowing they are buying fresh products, as opposed to 6 month to 12 month old nuts arriving from California, will be a significant factor in their purchasing decision, Coetzee said.