SA pear exports to U.S. at risk over high rejection rate

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SA pear exports to U.S. at risk over high rejection rate

South Africa could lose the opportunity to continue exporting pears to the U.S. because of high levels of inspector rejections. The issue needs to be taken seriously, key players told

South Africa Fisher Capespan procurement manager Ron van Heerden confirms the market is at risk.

"You have to register different blocks in advance - once some orchards have been rejected then you can't export again from that orchard," he says.

He adds shipments normally would start this week but exports were yet to leave the country.

"This year rejections have been very high. It's hard for us as we have started to make promises and it's difficult to get the product through."

A source close to says growers need to be on their guard.

"We need to be sure our quality is good, we need to be careful we don't mess up. If the market closes, then it's very difficult to open it again."

It is thought the main reason pears have failed to meet United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspector grading standards has been because of secondary pests in pallets.

The export window to the U.S. is narrow with opportunites to ship Williams Bon Chretien in January and February, and other varieties - mainly Forelles - from week 19-28.

Delecta Fruit pome fruit export manager Gert Marais, says USDA inspections are traditionally strict with high rejection levels.

"We've had one container rejected of Forelle and one of Beurre Bosc. It's difficult to tell you how many containers were rejected in total."

He says so far his rejection levels have been no higher than the 10-20% of previous years, describing the U.S. market as niche with his company shipping just 100 metric tonnes (MT) this season.

Related stories: South Africa trials early Forelle supplies

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