Count ap­ples

CityPress - - Business -

South African fruit ex­port­ing gi­ant Tru-Cape is reap­ing some re­wards in the wake of the plum­met­ing rand. But the com­pany’s ex­ec­u­tives are not crack­ing open the Cham­pagne as they say these ben­e­fits are sparse in the greater scheme of the in­dus­try.

Tru-Cape, which pro­vides jobs for about 15 200 peo­ple, claims to be the coun­try’s largest grower and dis­trib­u­tor of ap­ples and pears. The fruit is mostly grown in Ceres and the El­gin Val­ley in the Western Cape.

The com­pany sells fruit in 103 coun­tries in the US, Europe, the Far East and the Mid­dle East. There are also strong emerg­ing mar­kets in Africa, par­tic­u­larly in Nige­ria and Mozam­bique.

In Eng­land, Tru-Cape ap­ples are avail­able at all the ma­jor gro­cery fran­chises, in­clud­ing Tesco and Sains­bury’s.

Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Roelf Pien­aar told City Press the com­pany would see short-term ben­e­fits on sales to dol­lar mar­kets – which is about one-third of its to­tal ex­port crop.

“We are feel­ing the im­pact of the weak­en­ing Malaysian ring­git, for ex­am­ple, as our clients there need to pay more, in real terms, for their pur­chases,” he said.

“A neg­a­tive im­pact of the plum­met­ing oil price is felt in the oil-based economies of Nige­ria and other west African mar­kets.

“Apart from things cost­ing them more, there is a scarcity of dol­lar avail­abil­ity, which also rep­re­sents a prob­lem for Tru-Cape.”

Pien­aar added that while stock mar­kets in China con­tin­ued to tum­ble, Tru-Cape’s busi­ness there was on track: “While the shifts in the mar­kets seem to stem from China, our busi­ness in the Far East is still strong. The Far East is a top-pay­ing mar­ket for Tru-Cape.

“It is a case of swings and round­abouts – we ben­e­fit on the left hand but pay more on the right,” he said.

Just this week, Tru-Cape an­nounced it was reg­is­ter­ing its latest red ap­ple va­ri­etal called “Big­bucks” – a new clone in the Gala fam­ily.

– Biénne Huis­man

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