At the tail-end of the 2017 mango season, volumes are up from last year but quality hasn’t always followed suit, due to heavy rains during harvesting. In the northernmost areas mango growers are wrapping up their season while mango growers in Tzaneen still have about a month to go. Read more…
The South African fig export industry, barely a decade old, is expanding, with domestic demand also showing improvement as a result of the so-called “foodie” culture. It is a difficult fruit to export because it spoils easily: it needs to be picked at the optimal time (at 85 to 90% ripeness for export) and requires a very secure cold chain, with no fluctuations in temperature, such as fruit at fresh produce markets typically experience when they are moved out of cold storage to the display floor and back again. Read more…
The Southern African Macadamia Growers’ Association (SAMAC) has overwhelmingly voted to leave Subtrop, the umbrella organisation that also includes the South African avocado, mango and litchi growers’ associations. Read more…
In South Africa there is a temporary banana shortage this season, primarily because of the drought and severe water restrictions, with imported bananas (mainly from Ecuador) filling the gap in a market that has for many years been self-sufficient. Read more…
In South Africa the mango harvest season is in full swing, with most Tommy Atkins fruit off the trees and Kent and Keitt the current focus. Mango volumes look significantly better than a year ago, when a 17% drop in yields was not only caused by drought conditions and water restrictions, but also by severe hail storms affecting a range of subtropical fruit crops.
According to Fanie Meyer of Unifrutti South Africa, an improvement in production is especially evident in certain mango-producing regions like the Hoedspruit, Groblersdal and Marble Hall areas, where dam levels are much improved. However, in the Letsitele Valley and Onderberg, the situation is still tenuous with worryingly low dam levels and tight water restrictions. Some mango growers have only 20% of their usual water allocation.
After a disappointing harvest last year because of a devastating hail storm in the Hoedspruit area (harvests measured a mere 30 to 40% of the average in 2016) trees have bounced back with a larger than usual harvest. Mangoes grown in the region of Malelane usually ripen slightly earlier than Hoedspruit which lies more to the north but this year both harvests peaked simultaneously, logistically complicating matters. “There’s a large Keitt harvest hanging on the trees that will be picked over the next six weeks. The large volumes have put pressure on prices compounded by mangoes from Peru that have saturated the European market, so we’re not looking at that market this year. We’re sending mangoes to the Middle East, Singapore and even a bit to Russia,” says Erwee Topham, marketing manager at Alliance Fruit.
Derek Donkin, CEO of the South African Mango Growers Association, says that volumes are good, but exact figures will only be available after the harvest season at around the beginning of May. “The local market for mangoes is strong, absorbing the majority of domestic production. However, this season growers have experienced pressure on prices due to high volumes during peak season.” Unripe, immature green mangoes are used for making achaar (an Indian pickle condiment). Fresh mangoes, drying and juicing make up the other segments of the South African market in roughly equal proportions.
South African cherry planting expanding to the Cape
South Africa has a very short cherry season which is very difficult to predict, but coming just before Christmas, there is the opportunity for growers to earn good returns in these few short week.
“Cherries were disappointing in terms of volumes this season,” explains Roelf Pienaar, Managing Director of Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing, a company better know for their topfruit production. “We were around 50% down on last year. This was due to climatic conditions and was the same throughout the cherry industry.”
The cherry acreage in South South Africa is expanding, with a lot of new planting starting in the Western Cape. Traditionally cherries were grown in the Free State in the central of the country, but now growers are planting more volumes in Ceres.
“Nice new varieties are being planting which is exiting and bodes well for the future. Varieties such as Royal Dawn, Rainier and a lot of Sweetheart are being planted.” according to Roelf. “Land is not easy to come by in the Cape, but Ceres is the perfect area for growing cherries and it is also possible to slightly lengthen the season by planting there. Although last year’s production was not great, returns were good for the growers.”
Tru-Cape are one of the biggest topfruit producers in South Africa and although cherries are less than 1% of their business Roelf finds that it adds a nice extension to the offering and fits well into their customer base.
“We have a good customer base locally and only started to export a couple of years ago, but most of the cherries still go to the domestic market. There is a good demand as they come onto the market a few weeks before Christmas. It is a short window and you have maximise that.”
It is still too early to predict apple volumes, but according to Roelf it is looking similar to last season. The early pears have started and Golden Delicious apples will start in the next few days.
“The exchange rate is not in our favour at the moment, it will be challenging but anything can happen economically and politically so you never know.”
Africa has been a growing market for South African apples and will remain important. There has been an increase in the oil price which is good for for sales especially in Nigeria and the rest of Africa where Tru-Cape is strong. The biggest concern when trading with African countries is the credit risk, and ensuring you have proper finacials & debtor controls in place. We are well represented in 103 countries around the world.
Europe is harvesting fewer kiwifruits this season. Italy and Spain report considerable losses. By contrast, Greece claims to have had a good season. It is these countries that dominate the market, along with France. Later, Chile and New Zealand will follow. Read more…
24 November 2016
South Africa: Promising lychee season ahead
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.