The first batch of the season’s avocados coming from South Africa arrived in the European market during week 10. Total exports are expected to total 85,000 tonnes, which is an increase of 23% from last year’s.
“Volumes from South Africa will be up this year, due to the fresh plantings that are coming into commercial quantities,” said Derek Donkin the director of the South African Avocado Growers Association (SAAGA). “This increase is predicted to last for several years.”
The EU as well as UK markets appear to be thriving and exporters are attempting to increase their volumes prior to the huge volumes from Peru arrive from week 17.
“Prices haven’t risen over the last three years, as did the pattern in previous times,” comments Derek. “This could be due to the fact that people are spending less and also the increase in produce available on the market. We need to work hard for the development of new markets. Our volumes are expected to rise. We’re hoping to gain acces to China, India and Japan within the next few days.”
South Africa has also seen an increase in competition from African countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Mozambique While certain varieties of avocado exports are through South African exporters, most are not, or Kenya is already able to access China.
“South Africa needs to keep producing high quality avocados and remain competitive against these nations.”
South Africa does face many issues with delays in the ports as well as the constant loadshedding, which has numerous packers and growers needing to look at alternative strategies to ensure that the lights are on.
“It is an enormous issue for our producers as well as an investment of a significant amount when times are hard, but a advantage is that it could help us become more environmentally friendly producers. The past few years the cost of electricity was fairly low However, due to substantial cost increases in recent times, investing into alternative energy sources like solar panels have become more appealing.”
Source: The Plantations International Agroforestry Group of Companies