Fredo is giving you a quick look at the most important issues relating to South Africa which have been on the Market Intelligence network during the past month. More details can be obtained by viewing the originals on the Eurofruit and Asiafruit Newslines.

Ramaphosa rules out SA land grab
Tuesday 9th April 2019, 15:20 London

President addresses farming community in Stellenbosch to insist land reforms will all be constitutional and within the law
South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has confirmed there will be no land grabs as the government implements its land reform policies, with all actions done within the rule of law and according to the country’s constitution.

Speaking to the farming community in Stellenbosch, the president tried to reassure growers and the farming community about the land reform process. He appealed to the farming community to work with the government to achieve fairness in the process. In what is seen as a strong election message to try to improve the negative image of the governing party following recent corruption scandals involving the ANC and even cabinet members, Ramaphosa made a strong plea for unity in the country.

“We will pass an expropriation bill through parliament, which is very progressive and which will look at all options,” he said. “We are waiting for the farming community to engage with the government in order to ensure that we all act in the best interests of the country.”

During his address the president stated that unlike other countries in Europe and even Australia, South African growers and exporters of wine and fruit get almost no support to help promote their products internationally. “In my role as president and during my international engagements I would like to take these sectors with me so we can promote their business,” he added.

Jet Airways shutdown slows India export
Wednesday 24th April 2019, 10:23 Hong Kong

Fresh produce exports by air made up around half of the cargo onboard now-grounded Jet Airways flights

Freight costs for air shipment of fresh produce have increased some 25-30 per cent following the shutdown of Indian-based airline, Jet Airways.

The shutdown has made a particular impact on fresh produce exports from India to Europe and the UK, according to The Economic Times. Daily, around 50 tonnes of vegetables were being shipped out of Mumbai to London, Amsterdam, Paris and Singapore before the shutdown, and Jet Airways would operate three flights daily.

Emirates and Dubai had the second-largest share of fresh produce exports, and as a result of the shut downs, exporters are unable to fulfil volume and price commitments.

Access questions remain in the USA for South African citrus
Wednesday 24th April 2019, 10:45 London

New South African citrus season due to kick off in the United States amidst access questions

South African citrus growers in the Western and Northern parts of the Cape region are gearing up for the start of their 2019 export season to the USA.
The season kicks off at a time when the rest of the South African citrus growers are still being frustrated by the delay in the announcement of extended access by the US authorities for South African citrus fruit. It is not clear at all whether there will be progress this season. Given the ground work still to be done by growers once the access is implemented, it is doubtful whether it will have an effect on shipments this season.

It seems as if the South African citrus growers are being held hostage because the Americans themselves are insisting on better access for some of their products in the counter trade in South Africa. It has forced the South Africans to embark in elaborate lobbying and other programmes to try and put pressure on the Americans.

Maputo opens door to Middle East
Tuesday 23rd April 2019, 11:31 London

New direct shipping link between the port and the Middle East is an important development for the South African citrus industry

The announcement by French shipping line CMA CGM that it is adding the port of Maputo to its schedule between South Africa and the Middle East, has been described as a game-changer.

CMA CGM recently announced that the Noura East Africa service will be calling at Maputo as a last port of call, with a direct sailing to Jebel Ali near Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, with a transit time of 17 days.

“Other ports in the Gulf, Asia and Far East can be accessed with a transhipment from Jebel Ali,” said South Africa’s Citrus Growers’ Association (CGA). “This is a major game-changer for exports into the Middle East from Maputo. It would be a massive benefit if as many containers as possible could be shipped from Maputo to alleviate challenges in the Durban port.

South Africa’s fruit heritage preserved
Thursday, 25rd April 2019, London

A rare apple from the Netherlands has been replanted in the Company’s Garden in Cape Town

Over the years South Africans have recognised the history of fruit trees in the country, and have tried to preserve early varieties planted at the Cape.

Fruit trees and the development of the South African fruit industry have always been closely linked to the arrival of European settlers in the Cape region. Those who have keenly researched how those trees got to the Cape, or where and when they were first planted, have over the years contributed to the re-establishment of early cultivars in what is known as the Company’s Garden, introduced soon after 1652.

The most recent effort has been to trace and re-establish the first apple tree ever planted at the Cape. Recently, a cultivar called the Witte Wijnappel was planted in the Company’s Gardens – on the day in April when this tree was first recognised at the Cape in 1662. The South African apple industry also marks this date as its birth in South Africa.

RSA citrus sees hard brexit benefit
Monday 29th April 2019, 15:35 London

For many South Africans making sense of Brexit remains a problem

While certainty on Brexit – hard or soft – is some way away, South African citrus growers say a hard version will most probably be too bad a thing, potentially bringing benefits which they currently do not enjoy while the UK is firmly entrenched in the European Union.

Justin Chadwick of the South African Citrus Growers Associaton (CGA) recently, in an attempt to enlighten growers, asked the question: “Anybody care to explain Brexit to us mere mortals from the Colonies?” He says one definition of Brexit is ‘saying you are going to leave the party, but staying”.

“So with four possible outcomes many commentators are trying to determine the consequences of these possibilities,” Chadwick continued. “With a ‘hard Brexit’ becoming more and more likely, those exporters supplying citrus to the UK will be happy to hear that under such a scenario all citrus tariffs will reduce to zero. Citrus exported from South Africa would thus enter the UK at 0 per cent duty throughout the year.”

Sharon Fruit fills exotic niche
Tuesday 30th April 2019, 10:15 London

Celebrating 21 years in South Africa, the product has found a unique place as part of the exotic offering to consumers

The Sharon Fruit industry was established in South Africa 21 years ago, essentially to provide counter-seasonal fruit when Northern Hemisphere production came to an end. Today, the industry is more mature and fills a vital niche in the country’s fresh produce business.

This is the view of Meir Ben-Artzy, chairperson of Mor International, a founding member of the industry in South Africa. He spoke to Eurofruit on this landmark occasion and says he always believed that once South African consumers got a taste of the fruit, they would be hooked on it.

“We have had to find our feet over the past two decades but I believe we have matured and now offer our supplies to increasing numbers of consumers, both in South Africa and overseas,” says Ben-Artzy. “Of great importance is the fact that Sharon Fruit is now offered at the end of the local South African berry, mango and lychee seasons when there is a real gap for a new exotic product. It is also important that we are finding favour amongst virtually all sectors of South African consumers. Growth in the informal sector is very good and we are expanding every year.”