MAR­KET AC­CESS is cru­cial for sub­trop­i­cal fruit in­dus­try

Farmer's Weekly (South Africa) - - Contents -

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’

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