Poor weather prompts SA peach and nectarine export delay

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Poor weather prompts SA peach and nectarine export delay

South Africa's nectarine and peach exports are expected to be 10 days later than usual due to bad weather, with the first shipments in three to four weeks' time.

Recent hail storms in the country's north, whose season starts several weeks earlier than the Western Cape, have led to damaged fruit.

Capespan's technical manager for stonefruit Michiel Bester, said the domestic market would be strong for the first part of the season with good prices.

"We think the local market will be strong because early areas in the north had damaged fruit due to hail so the crop was lower than normal. Early Western Cape fruit will go to Johannesburg and Pretoria."

Bester said although this season's nectarine and peach set has been normal, growers would have to think hard about how to manage production.

"We are still having rain and we are a little bit worried about the size. We will have to thin harder to make sure we get the right sizes because of the cooler climate temperatures."

South Africa has had 40-60 millimeters of rain from last Wednesday to Friday with the prospect of more rain on Thursday.

"If it carries on raining it could push the season back further and this could be a problem."

He predicted volumes would be similar to last season's bumper crop where nectarine exports were up 40% on the previous season to 3.5 million 2.5 kilogram cartons, and peaches were up 19% to 1.2 million cartons.

Stems Fruit technical manager Pierre Rossouw this season's crop would be later but that volumes would be more or less the same as the previous season.

"The challenge will be getting the right price and the correct size. At this stage we have a bit of cold and wet weather and this might affect the nectarine and peach size.

"They really rely on heat to size up whereas plums are actually enjoying this weather, it's ideal for them."

Related stories: SA stonefruit posted higher exports but prices stayed flat


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