South Africa is self-sufficient and only imports small quantities of deciduous fruits to fulfill niche markets or to satisfy domestic demand when supply is limited.

The Western Cape Province is the largest growing region of deciduous fruits in South Africa, accounting for 72 percent of the total growing area and production. The other growing regions include the Northern Cape (17 percent), Eastern Cape (8 percent), and less than 3 percent in the North West, Free State, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo Provinces.

Deciduous fruit is the largest sub-sector of the South African fruit industry in terms of area planted, which was 80,738 hectares in the 2017/18 MY, from 79,911 hectares in the 2016/17 MY. Table grapes (fresh and dried) accounted for 32 percent of the total area planted to deciduous fruits in the 2017/18 MY, followed by apples (30 percent), pears (15 percent), peaches (8 percent), plums (6 percent), apricots (3 percent) and nectarines (2 percent).

Taking a look at fresh table grapes and the Northern Cape:
The production of table grapes is estimated to increase by 2 percent to 315,000 MT in the 2018/19 MY, from 307,541 MT in the 2017/18 MY. This is based on the increase in area harvested, normal weather conditions and availability of irrigation water. The recovery from the drought and return to normal table grape production is expected to be in the 2018/19 MY, due to the climatically diverse growing regions in the Western Cape Province and Northern Cape Province (not impacted by the drought), increase in area under production, and the continued shift to higher yielding new varieties.

The major growing areas for table grapes are the Hex River and Berg River regions in the Western Cape Province, accounting for 54 percent of the total area planted, followed by the Orange River and Olifants River regions in the Northern Cape Province, accounting for 35 percent of the total area planted. Table grapes are normally harvested from October to May. Harvest starts in week 43 (beginning of October) in the Northern Cape Region. The Hex River valley is the last region for table grapes harvesting.

Area Planted
The area planted to table grapes is estimated to increase by 2 percent to 21,500 hectares in the 2018/19 MY, from 21,067 hectares in the 2017/18 MY. This is based on new orchards coming into full production, and some wine grapes being converted to table grapes. The area planted to table grapes has been increasing steadily since the 2007/08 MY. This increase is correlated to the weakening of the rand, increased export revenues, and the decline in area planted to wine grapes.

Domestic consumption of table grapes is estimated to increase by 3 percent to 37,000 MT in the 2018/19 MY, from 35,761 MT in the 2017/18 MY, due to the increase in production. The supply of table grapes to the domestic market and consequently consumption in South Africa is dependent on the export market. Table grapes that cannot be sold on the export market, including those that do not meet export quality standards, are sold to the domestic fresh market or supplied to juice processors.

The export of table grapes is estimated to increase by 2 percent to 285,000 MT in the 2018/19 MY, from 279,680 MT in the 2017/18 MY, based on the increase in production and strong demand from the Asian markets. The EU is the leading historical export market for South African table grapes, accounting for 78 percent of table grape exports in the 2017/18 MY, and this is expected to remain the same in the 2018/19 MY. South Africa benefits from a shorter shipping distance than other Southern Hemisphere competitors, strong demand for seedless varieties, and a free trade agreement with the EU. Exports to Asia (10 percent), the Middle East (4 percent) and Africa (4 percent) also have strong growth potential and are becoming a core focus for South Africa. Export volumes to the United States and Canada have grown significantly over the past years as well, but are still at below 12,000 MT and accounted for 4 percent of the total exports in the 2017/18 MY.

In November 2016, China revised its cold treatment protocols to address False Coddling Moth (FCM) for South African table grapes. The new protocol changed the climate control requirement from -0.6°C for 22 days to +0.8°C for a minimum of 20 days. Post contacts indicated that there are high possibilities that in the future, South Africa could submit a similar request for the United States to adjust its cold treatment protocols for South African table grapes.

South Africa is a net exporter of table grapes, and imports are mainly to fill the gap when South Africa is out of the season or has low volumes from around July to November. Spain, Namibia and Egypt are the primary suppliers. The United States does not have market access for table grapes into South Africa. However, if access is granted to the United States, exports would be subject to a 4 percent customs duty.




Farming Diary


07.15.2020 - 07.17.2020


08.11.2020 - 08.14.2020


10:00 am 09.09.2020 - 11:00 am 09.11.2020

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