The South African pome fruit industry is expecting a 3% year-on-year export increase this season to 50 million 12.5kg-equivalent cartons, thanks in part to winter rains.
The figure is the same as what was exported in the 2017 season and slightly lower than the 2016 season.
"Good rain during the winter of 2018 has brought much-needed relief too many pome fruit growers. Although the drought has not been completely broken, growers are in a much better position than last year," said grower association Hortgro.
"A bumper crop isn’t expected, but volumes are looking better and growers are much more positive with an average export crop anticipated for the 2019 season."
Hortgro said this year's crop would see an increase in some varieties due to young orchards coming into production.
"During 2018, many of these young orchards countered the massive impact of the drought and now, in 2019, a 5% increase is estimated for apples. Pear exports are estimated to be on par with the previous season," it said.
In general, the outlook for 2019 is good and there is enough water to raise a proper crop, it said.
Current weather conditions are good for growing and color development, which Hortgro said would hopefully result in higher pack-out ratios for Cripps Pink/Pink Lady, Cripps Red/Joya, Forelle and Vermont Beauty as well as Rosemarie and Flamingo.