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