Pome fruits are members of the plant family Rosaceae, sub-family pomoideae. They are fruits that have a core of several small seeds, surrounded by a tough membrane. The membrane is, in turn, encased in an edible layer of flesh. Apples and pears are the best known examples of pome fruit; others that are found in South Africa include loquats and quinces.
The history of pome fruit in South Africa dates back to the early 17th century when the world’s first multinational company, the VOC (Dutch United East India Company), decided to start a halfway station at the Cape of Good Hope. The sole purpose of this settlement was to supply ships with fresh meat, vegetables, and fruit to combat the effects of scurvy that decimated unfortunate sailors on their long voyages.
It was here in the shadow of Table Mountain where the Governor planted the first apple seeds and where the South African history of fruit production began.
- The word pome is derived from the Latin word pōmum, which means fruit.
- The cultivated apple originated in Central Asia, around Kazakhstan, where its wild ancestor (Malus sylvestris) can still be found today.
- China is responsible for around 46% of global apple production; the USA, where apples were introduced by European colonists, is second with 5%.
- There are over 7 500 known apple varieties.
- Pears are thought to have originated in Central Asia, but have been cultivated in Europe for around 10 000 years.
- Even though the South African pear industry is a small international player, about 50% of our pears are exported.
ABOUT HORTGRO POME
Hortgro Pome, previously known as the South African Apple and Pear Producers' Association (SAAPPA), was established in the early 1970's to promote and protect the interests of the apple growers, and later also those of the pear growers of South Africa.
The main goal of the pome fruit industry is to supply the preferred choice products in any market. To this end, it is essential that all role players in the industry should have a mutual vision and passion to attain this.
The Association is a Section 21 (non-profit) company, which is administered by a board of directors representing the main pome fruit production regions in the SA. Hortgro Pome resorts under the structure of HORTGRO, the umbrella industry service organisation.
- To rationalise and promote the production and marketing of apples and pears.
- To encourage and pursue constructive dialogue and mutual co-operation with the government and other parties in order to promote the interests of the Association and its members.
- To foster mutual trust and long-term relationships amongst role players and stakeholders
- To establish a reciprocal information system and promote the maintenance of responsible and sustainable production and marketing practices.
- To support and assist the development of its decision making systems and structures.
The Association serves its members in many ways by providing support and stimulus to assist producers to set sustainable production and marketing goals and maximise marketing potential and income. It facilitates, amongst others, the following activities:
- Research and Development
- Communication, Liaison, and Representation
- Trade and Market Access
- Market Development
- Traning & Social Responsibility
- Land Reform, Economic Development
- Plant Improvement & Certification