South Africa forecasts modest rise in stonefruit exports

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South Africa forecasts modest rise in stonefruit exports

South African fruit growers' body Hortgro says it is expecting a 'normal' stonefruit season, with year-on-year rises of between 4-6% in export volumes across the categories. plums_55619518

Prospects were 'looking good at this stage' despite concerns over a cooler spring and prolonged drought conditions, the group said.

"Possible water shortages in certain production areas remains a cause for concern, with dam levels in Western Cape being at 62%," Hortgro said, quoting October figures from the Department of Water and Sanitation.

"Water and irrigation management will be crucial during the season to mitigate any potential risks."

The organization said the start to the harvesting season was 'similar compared to last year'.

Nectarine exports are expected to rise 5% to around 4.2 million 2.5-kilo-equivalent cartons, while peach volumes are set to grow 4% to 2.3 million 2.5-kilo-equivalent cartons, and plum exports are to rise 6% to 11.7 million 5.25-kilo-equlivant cartons.

The projected increases for those three categories are due to young orchards coming into production.

"There has been steady growth and replacement in nectarine, peach and plum plantings over the past number of years. Recent information has indicated that the growth trend in peaches and nectarines has stabilised," Hortgro said.

Apricot exports are expected to increase by 4% year-on-year to around 730,000 4.75-kilo-equivalent cartons, which the industry body said was due to good fruit set reported in most production areas.

However, it noted the figure was still below the three-year average, unlike nectarines, peaches and plums.

"The main driver for the growth in volumes is new plantings that expands the range of SA stone fruit to a more balanced offering. This extends the season and ability to service market demands," the group said.



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