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South African apple and pear industry set to bounce back in 2024

South African pome fruit producers are looking forward to exports bouncing back. This, on the back of a lower pome fruit export crop due to hail damage in some of the major fruit producing areas during 2023. The 2024 harvest season is already in full swing, a week to 10 days earlier than last season, with indications that we can expect promising apple export volumes and a slightly below average pear export crop. This was largely influenced by a good, cold, and wet winter with more favourable weather conditions impacting positively on fruit production.

Apple export volumes are anticipated to increase by 7%, mainly due to young orchards coming into production coupled with more favourable weather conditions. Bi-red apples such as Gala (+5%), Cripps Red (+11%) and Bigbucks (+33%) are expected to drive the bulk of the volume increase. There is also a positive outlook on Pink Lady volumes which is anticipated to increase by 8%, following the trend of the last few seasons.

The pear export estimate on the other hand indicates a more moderate outlook with a volume increase of 1% on last season’s volumes. Abate Fetel volumes are expected to decrease by -3% due to the earlier harvest and some frost damage. Packham’s Triumph volumes are anticipated to remain the same as last season whereas the summer blushed pears such as Cheeky, Celina and Rosemarie are expected to slightly increase.

Pome Fruit Export Estimates (12.5kg equivalent cartons)

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From a logistic standpoint, ports remain the most direct challenge to the sustainability of our producers. The industry is in constant communication with the relevant state-owned enterprises to ensure dependable and punctual supply of our tasty produce.

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