South African avocados entering Chinese market
Last month, fresh South African avocados were granted access to the Chinese market. The export agreement was signed by South Africa’s Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza and the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi.
“Gaining access to China is a vital step in driving an export-led growth for South African avocados, which is a commitment the government has made under the Agriculture and Agro-processing Master Plan. In recent years, the avocado industry has expanded by 4,750 hectares (11,700 acres) increasing the total hectare to over 18,000 (45,000 acres),” Didiza says.
“Currently, we are getting everything in place to comply with the requirements for registration of orchards and packhouses for export to China. Entering a new market will provide its challenges, but growers and exporters are preparing to ensure that quality avocados meeting all requirements of the protocol are delivered,” notes Donkin.
China is expected to become one of the world’s main avocado consumers, which offers a great opportunity to expand the South African avocado industry.
Regarding the opportunities for growth, Donkin explains, “This opportunity means increased employment in production regions, which are largely in poor rural areas, increased foreign earnings and general economic growth linked to the fruit export value chain.”
South Africa is a top avocado exporter on the continent, shipping primarily to Europe, the Middle East and other southern African countries, and currently employs 15,000 people on farms and in pack houses.
Producers and exporters are looking forward to this new opportunity which opens a window for bigger markets in Asia.
“The Asian region as a whole has the potential to become a major importer and consumer of avocados. Experience in exporting to China will bode well for other future markets such as Japan and South Korea,” says Donkin.