South African apricot and nectarine exports set for record

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South African apricot and nectarine exports set for record

South African apricot exports so far have shown a 25% year-on-year increase at 4,954 metric tons (MT) with the season shaping up to be a record year.

Nearly 1.1 million 4.75kg (10.5 lbs) cartons have been shipped already, which Hortgro production manager Jacques du Preez described as the best export crop in a long time.

"I think it's a case of better production with a few new orchards coming into harvest and the weather has been good," said du Preez.

In particular, the Charisma variety showed the biggest increase.

He said the nectarine harvest was looking good too with nearly 1 million 2.5kg (5.51lbs) cartons shippped already, with three more months of the season left to go.

"We are doing extremely well and we are expecting a record crop with them too. In particular, we have had an excellent crop of the Alpine variety."

Du Preez said export prices were good too largely because of a shortage of northern hemisphere stone fruit with the seasons in Spain and Italy finishing two to three weeks ago; significantly earlier than last year.

Although the weather has generally been good, he said a longer than normal cold spell last month delayed shipments with growers waiting a few days more for fruit sugar levels to rise.

Harvesting of plums has only just started with peak collection expected in the new year. Du Preez  was optimistic the African Rose and Pioneer varieties would be able to command good prices.

Currently, the U.K. is importing 45% of South Africa's exports with the E.U. at 33% and the Middle East at 18%.

Photo: FPEF

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