South Africa forecasts greater avocado exports despite off-bearing year

South Africa forecasts greater avocado exports despite off-bearing year

South Africa is initially forecasting a rise in its avocado export crop despite being in an off-bearing year.

Derek Donkin of Subtrop said that estimates are in the region of 16 million 4 kg cartons. Last season, 15 million cartons were exported.

"Although we are in an “off” year in terms of the alternate bearing cycle, volumes will be up on last year due to new orchards coming into production and improved fruit size as a result of the abundant rains in most production regions," he said.

The first shipments are expected to arrive in Europe in week 11 or 12. 

South Africa should have a fairly even supply into the market from week 14 to 37, thereafter tailing off to week 45, Donkin said.

He added that the ongoing pandemic may affect logistics this season - with port logistics always being a concern. But he said it if difficult to forecast what the effect may be this year.

Market-wise, he said: "The demand for avocados was good in 2020 and we hope that 2021 will be similar."

Speaking about planting trends in South Africa, Donkin said that the season is gradually being extended on both ends, but especially on the back end.

"Avocado plantings are expanding in areas where the fruit can be harvested earlier or later with the right cultivars," he said.

"As a result, our season starts slightly earlier than in the past, but most notably, it is extending later than in the past."