Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  20 Apr 2009

FOOD & BEVERAGES: Stone And Pome Fruit Fortunes


Recent Western Cape Business News

THIS year’s stone fruit season will be late but normal and the crop estimate is 12.484 million equivalent cartons – which is 1% lower than last season. The damage caused by the adverse weather conditions (hail, wind and frost) early in the Western Cape season impacted primarily on the Alpine nectarine and Pioneer plum harvest, says Sarel van Wyk of the Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB).

The supermarkets have changed their packing requirements at a very late stage due to the recession.

This means that producers are sitting with stock which they have purchased earlier in the season and which they cannot utilize. (e.g. smaller pre-packs at cheaper prices).

The combination of the late crop and the global economic crisis could have an impact on the 2009 season for the South African stone fruit.

The industry is concerned about how much the global credit crunch will affect the buying power of consumers. In addition, the traditionally early stone fruit is late this year, affecting early market supply,” van Wyk says.

The demand is currently lower than last year and movement of stock is slower.

He says producers in the pome industry are very positive due to the good past three seasons. This is due to the positive exchange rate and a short to fair supply position which translates to the most favourable marketing environment of the last few years.

Producers are still optimistic and the main concern currently is the huge price increases in chemicals, fertiliser, diesel and the current economic environment.

The feedback thus far for the new pome season is that it will be a normal season and the theoretical crop estimate is 38 million equivalent cartons which is 4% lower than last season. The canning price for Bon Chretien pears increased to R2 200 per ton and this will definitely influence volumes for export.

The Pacham triumph crop looks very promising and the Forelle volumes are 8% higher than last year mainly due to new hectares that are coming into production.

At least 10% (1 million cartons) of SA’s crop of Golden Delicious apples is reported to have been lost due to the misapplication of thinning agent, according to van Wyk.

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