Finweek English Edition - - Economic Trends & Analysis - JO­HANN VAN ZYL

MOST SOUTH AFRICANS know the coun­try is one of the world’s lead­ing wine pro­duc­ers (ninth big­gest) and that a large vol­ume of its an­nual pro­duc­tion is ex­ported. The ex­port por­tion of about 38% of to­tal wine pro­duced makes SA one of the world’s main ex­porters. Many peo­ple also know that SA is an ex­cel­lent fruit pro­ducer and ex­ports so much that the fruit groups and the wine pro­duc­ers to­gether ac­count for the ma­jor share of agri­cul­tural ex­ports worth around R30bn.

How­ever, SA is also one of the largest ex­porters of dried fruit and more than 55% of its to­tal pro­duc­tion (2006 fig­ures) is des­tined for world mar­kets. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture’s 2007 sur­vey of agri­cul­tural trends re­ported that 48 694 t of dried fruit were pro­duced last year, with grape prod­ucts (such as raisins) by far the most dom­i­nant group at 44 000 t. Plums, apri­cots, ap­ples, peaches, pears and figs share the re­main­der.

But where does all that dried fruit go? Europe, which bought about 45% of SA’s dried-fruit ex­ports in 2006, re­mains the largest im­porter. How­ever, that re­gion is rapidly be­ing over­taken by Canada and the United States, which now jointly ab­sorb 37% of ex­ports. The rest goes to Aus­tralia and New Zealand (8%), the Far East (6%) and Africa and the Mid­dle East (4%).

An anal­y­sis of the por­tion of SA’s to­tal dried fruit pro­duc­tion go­ing over­seas shows the to­tal is grad­u­ally fall­ing. The peak was in 2003, when 85% of to­tal pro­duc­tion was ex­ported.

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