STONE FRUIT CROP ex­pected to be ‘closer to nor­mal’

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

South Africa is head­ing for a promis­ing stone fruit sea­son, with vol­umes on track to be higher than those of the past sea­son. Hort­gro re­cently re­leased its first stone fruit fore­cast for the sea­son that in­di­cated a ‘closer to nor­mal’ crop for the 2018/2019 sea­son.

The fore­cast for nec­tarines was 5% up at 4,3 mil­lion 2,5kg equiv­a­lent car­tons; peaches were ex­pected to in­crease

3% to just over 2,2 mil­lion 2,5kg equiv­a­lent car­tons, while plum pro­duc­tion was ex­pected to be 6% higher at just over 10,8 mil­lion 5,25kg equiv­a­lent car­tons for ex­ports.

At 719 588 car­tons of 4,75kg equiv­a­lent, apri­cots would be 1% down com­pared with last year.

Ac­cord­ing to Jac­ques du Preez, gen­eral man­ager for trade and mar­kets at Hort­gro, the in­crease in pro­duc­tion was mainly driven by young or­chards com­ing into pro­duc­tion and ex­pan­sion of the in­dus­try in re­cent years.

He said apri­cots were the only ex­cep­tion, with cur­rent vol­umes es­ti­mated to be on par with the pre­vi­ous sea­son.

“This is due to the fact that parts of the Lit­tle Ka­roo re­gion [Ladi­smith, Bar­ry­dale, Prince Al­bert and Cal­itz­dorp], which is the main pro­duc­tion re­gion for fresh apri­cots, are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing is­sues with wa­ter avail­abil­ity and had cold weather dur­ing the flow­er­ing pe­riod,” Du Preez ex­plained.

Over­all, early va­ri­eties in all pro­duc­tion re­gions seemed to have had good fruit set, while the gen­eral be­lief was that the sta­tus of ir­ri­ga­tion wa­ter was ad­e­quate to sup­port a good crop for the sea­son, he added. – Je­an­dré van der Walt

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