SA apple exports to grow 10% in 2011
South Africa's apple season is in full swing with exports expected to grow by around 10% to 25.6 million cartons this year, but the strong local currency is putting pressure on growers, reported website Fruchthandel.de.
The story reported the high value of the rand is affecting earnings for many pome fruit producers, especially smaller growers, leading to more industry consolidation as production and logistics costs continue to grow.
This 'cost explosion' is likely to be the biggest challenge for the industry in the future, reported Fruchthandel, adding to the fact that a large part of South Africa's pome fruit is in the size category between 65mm and 75mm, which is too small for many markets.
South Africa's largest export market for pome fruit is Europe, with Germany alone importing between 15% to 20% from South Africa, the story reported.
Dutoit Group joint managing director Pieter Du Toit told Fruchthandel South Africa's pear crop would be slightly lower than in the 2010 season, but the Southern Hemisphere is positive about pome fruit opportunities generally.
"After Fruit Logistica in Berlin, most apple and pear exporters from the Southern Hemisphere were truly optimistic for exports to Europe as the coming season approaches," he was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, South Africa's table grape industry is likely to have 20% lower production this year as a result of heavy rains, reported the Fruit-Inform Project.