South Africa forecasts improved stone fruit export season

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South Africa forecasts improved stone fruit export season

Despite a good crop, South Africa’s  2021-22 stone fruit export season and farm level given trade turned in disappointing results, with the ongoing logistics crisis as the main culprit.

However, 2022-23 season is expected to be much improved with the apricot season forecasted to show a 9% increase in exports to 3,085 tons, industry body Hortgro said.

Supply is expected to be much more stable, reliable and on time given that logistical bottlenecks have been addressed. 

This will directly impact fruit quality, as better shipping times will directly lead to stone fruit arriving in optimal condition, Hortgro said.

Despite a relatively dry winter, stone fruit growers are expecting a good to above-average crop. 

The area planted to nectarines has continued growing, while peaches and apricots are on the decline. Organic growth of nectarines is expected to increase by 15% to 23,650 tons. 

After the poor financial returns of plums, it is expected that the planted area will stabilize and might even decline slightly going forward. Exports are expected to grow by 4% for plums and peaches.

Several new nectarine and plum orchards that were planted over the last five years will continue to support volume growth and enhance fruit quality and size, Hortgro said.With the stone fruit season already underway, economies are taking great strain and consumer spending is under pressure, but growers are under even more pressure to remain profitable, the association added.  

Price surges continue to create pressure on production costs, resulting in a real urgency for the whole value chain to interrogate efficiencies, productivity, and costs. Consequently, the industry is focusing on quality, size and improving the logistical chain.

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