South Africa Stone-Fruit Growers See Record Exports in Season

  • New cultivars widen the marketing window period, Hortgro says
  • Record volumes seen for nectarines, peaches and plums

South Africa’s export volumes for nectarines, peaches and plums are expected to rise to a record in the 2015-16 season as demand from the Middle East climbs and new cultivars are planted.

The nation may sell 3.9 million 2.5-kilogram (5.5-pound) cartons of nectarines, 4 percent more than a year earlier, while peach exports may advance 5 percent to 2.1 million cartons of the same size, the South African Stone Fruit Producers Association said in an e-mailed statement. Shipments of plums are seen increasing 3 percent to 11.82 million, 5.25-kilogram cartons.

“Over the last couple of seasons the traditional markets have shown a renewed interest in our export fruit, with continued strong growth in other markets such as the Middle East,” Jacques du Preez, general manager for trade and markets at Hortgro, to which the stone-fruit group is affiliated, said in a separate e-mailed response to questions. “These new cultivars widen the marketing window period and ensure that there is an even distribution of fruit throughout the season.”

The U.K. is the top export destination for South African nectarines, buying 58 percent, with the Middle East purchasing 42 percent of peaches exported, according to Du Preez. The European Union and Russia take up about 49 percent for plums.

Apricot exports may decline 3 percent to 783,991 4.75-kilogram cartons. The EU and Russia are the biggest buyers at 37 percent collectively, followed by the Middle East at 36 percent and U.K. at 25 percent. The next forecast for exports will be released in mid-December and at the end of January.

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