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Clive Garrett, ZZ2:

“Very good start to South Africa’s 2024 avocado season”

South Africa's avocado season is off to a very good start with Europe seeing the first arrivals of Maluma and the regular Hass varieties. Sporadic rain and some heatwaves in the build-up to the 2024 season turned out to be good, overall, for the avocado production. Clive Garrett, Marketing Manager of the diversified producer ZZ2, "Apart from a few days of picking interruptions due to rain we have had a very good start to the avocado season. It started a little later than last year but this was probably due to a relatively mild October to February. The quality is good with an acceptable spread of sizes across the various varieties."

As with any production under the blue skies, climatic conditions remain the key. The reasonably favourable conditions in South Africa are causing optimism for a bigger crop this year. The estimated export crop from South Africa for 2024 is just over 20 million 4kg cartons compared to just over 18 million 4kg cartons in 2023. "The climatic conditions apart from a few heat waves were generally conducive to good production. We had reasonable rains in the last part of 2023 but it was very dry in the first few months of 2024 and then we had a bit of rain again in late March. We are expecting a much larger crop in 2024 but this is primarily due to a number of younger orchards now coming into production," states Garrett.

With the weather in their favour, there are other concerns like the port delays in South Africa that could possibly dampen the mood for producers and exporters. "There have been the usual port delays but the situation seems to be better than in 2023. However, any delay on avocados is cause for concern. The majority of problems we pick up in Europe can be directly attributed to port delays. The recurring theme we hear from our clients in Europe is that we need to get our logistics sorted out. The Red Sea issues have not had an effect on SA producers going into Europe," explains Garrett.

However, the Red Sea delay is affecting a fellow African competitor country namely Kenya. Garrett says while Kenya is becoming a factor for South Africa's avocado industry, "they have been hit with the Red Sea issues this year and are having to divert their ships around the Cape. This is adding considerable time to their journey and, as mentioned above, avocados are very sensitive to transit time so it will be interesting to see how their season develops."Good early European avocado demand
While the demand in Europe is good, it can change quickly as more supply comes into those markets from overseas suppliers. "The demand in Europe has been good due to European producers like Spain and Israel finishing off their seasons relatively early. The situation is however changing quite rapidly due to large volumes arriving from Peru. We have heard that the overall volumes from Peru are going to be down on last season but will have to wait and see what happens."

"As our fruit has only just landed in Europe we have not yet received any payments. On reading the CIRAD reports (avocado market report) it appears that the very early fruit will probably be up by between 1 and 2 Euros per 4kg carton over last year. However, now that Peru has entered the market with a lot of small sizes these are under a lot of pressure. The larger sizes are still holding their own," concludes Garrett.

For more information:
Clive Garrett
Tel: +27 15 395 8460
Email: [email protected]