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Jacques du Preez - HORTGRO

More than one million cartons of pears exported to China in first season

The top fruit harvest is well underway in South Africa, with 12 million cartons of apples already packed and exported. The apple export season is a good third of the way through. Nine million cartons of pears have been packed, half of the estimated volume.

The estimates of both apples and pears have been lowered consistently since they were initially made at the start of the season given inclement weather and crop damage. The current estimate for apples is 7% down on last year, after an initial expected increase of 6% on 2022’s production, so the actual drop is down by 13% on potential. The pear estimate is down 14% on last year, the lowest for the last three years.

“Hail, late last year, followed by more hail a few weeks ago in the Langkloof region is the main reason for the lowering of the estimates. Other than the hail, the weather has been quite good, and the unseasonal rains have been more beneficial than detrimental,” said Jacques du Preez, General Manager: Trade & Markets at HORTGRO.

South Africa has a very diverse market base for apples, the top two are the Far East & Asia and Africa, including the domestic market. Europe and the UK are also a good markets and Russia is strong this year for pears. Exports to India have really ramped up since exporters were able to utilise the in-transit cold treatment protocol that was approved last year.

Apples have had access to China for a few years but towards the end of last season pears also got the go ahead. More than one million cartons have been exported there already.

“Our production profile has changed and has expanded to fill the demand from the different markets. Many target markets have different times when they want to import which suits our production range. Russia was difficult last year, but we have seen pear volumes going there increase by 60% this year. China and India are very positive markets and have seen good growth. We are very happy with the volumes of pears shipped to China in our first season there. We see good potential for further growth there.”

Jacques sees the coming two or three years as being a time for consolidation and doesn’t expect production to increase rapidly.

“The next few years will be very tough for our growers that need to deal with the challenges of increasing costs, load shedding and unreliable ports and related logistics. We are however confident about the medium-term outlook and foresee that a renewed growth period will follow given a more robust and responsive industry. We have new markets opening and demand increasing from existing markets which with the resilience and adaptability of our producers, augers well for the future of our industry.”

For more information:
Jacques du Preez
Tel: +27 (0)21 870 2900 
[email protected]