South Africa's pomegranate industry is taking root
Export and import company Sapex told www.freshfruitportal.com the sector is relatively new, having started just four years ago.
Sapex chief operating officer Kobus Louw, said the industry had been growing exponentially but was still small compared to the U.S.
"There have been a lot of plantings in the last three to four years and we are expecting the crop this season, and the following, to double and then for it to stabilize over the next few years," he said.
The industry has yet to compile official figures but it is estimated last season 400,000 cartons were exported, with the prediction this year that at least 500,000 cartons will be shipped.
Louw said he expected bigger volumes in 2012 with the season starting at the end of February.
"The trees are now more established and they can bear more fruit, and in three to four years we are expecting real volumes."
He said this year there were 100 hectares of new plantings, bringing the total volume of hectares to between 1,200-1,300. Key cultivars are Aco, Wonderful and Herskovitz.
The industry is exporting the fruit fresh, packaged in punnets and also as juice. Europe is the largest import market followed by Russia, the Far East and the U.K.