MARKET ACCESS is crucial for subtropical fruit industry
Gaining and maintaining market access for South Africa’s mangoes, avocados and litchis was paramount to ensure these industries’ sustainability. This was according to Derek Donkin, CEO of the South African Subtropical Growers’ Association (Subtrop), who was speaking at the annual Subtrop Symposium in White River.
Donkin said that further cultivar development was needed in the litchi and mango industries to ensure market access, while broader market access for avocados would ensure that growing the crop would remain profitable.
The industry was currently focusing on accessing the Chinese and US markets for avocados and mangoes. However, negotiations over phytosanitary requirements and access for US products into South Africa were hampering the finalisation of these agreements.
“Historically, it can take up to 15 years to gain market access in a new country, but we need to keep plugging at it. We should see some progress in the Chinese and US markets next year,” he said.
Donkin said that international phytosanitary and maximum residue level requirements were becoming more stringent, and non-compliance could result in South Africa losing its market access. “We need to find alternatives for many of the chemicals previously used as they are no longer allowed. Next year the EU will be implementing stricter measures to control fruit fly in mangoes,” he added.
Pieter Buys, chairperson of the South African Mango Growers’ Association, said that while South Africa needed access to export markets during the peak season for mangoes, which often resulted in an oversupply on the local market, the local industry was, for the most part, more profitable than the export markets.
“International prices are not lucrative, especially when you consider the cost to export and market the product in those countries. In India, the price can be as low as US$0,60/kg [about R8,60/kg] and in China, US$1/kg [R14,30/kg]. We must consider whether it’s worth chasing markets that are not necessarily profitable and that require cultivars that we don’t plant.”
Buys was positive about the outlook for mangoes, and expected that global demand would grow. “Available land for planting more mangoes is, however, limited, and since demand is expected to increase, prices will follow the same upward trend.” – Lindi Botha
‘ more cultivar development is needed in litchi and mango industries’