European crisis spells doubts for SA fruit exporters

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European crisis spells doubts for SA fruit exporters

South African fruit exporters have raised concerns about their prospects in Europe due to the debt crisis, media organization Reuters reported.

Fresh Produce Exporters Forum chief executive Stuart Symington, told Reuters South Africa aimed to maintain current annual export levels of around 2.5 million metric tons (MT), but may need to seek out other markets to do so. The country currently ships 70% of its exports to Europe.

"Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain all take our fruit, but demand levels are lower. However, we are also finding that the food inflation prices are higher than previous years, so the lower volumes are being offset by higher prices," Symington was quoted as saying.

"Europe is still a very important market for us, but it is risky to put so much of our export volumes into one regional market.

"We are looking to the Far East to expand our efforts ... Indonesia, Thailand, India, Vietnam, China, South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan."

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