Not all moonshine and roses for South African apple growers and exporters in Europe.
[divider]South African apple sources has conceded that events in Western Europe and the United Kingdom are changing their supply patterns. It is likely that these traditional markets will become less attractive for the South Africans in future.
It is not only rising European crops which are a concern for the South Africans. Competition in increasingly price sensitive markets are adding to the problem which is resulting at them being forced to reduce their sales in the traditional markets. That is why the South Africans are relieved to hear that the next European crop will be down compared with last year.
Figures released by the European apple and pear producers indicate that the next apple crop will be down 3 percent on last year and the pear crop 9 percent down.
[divider]“So far this season there are signs that the South African pome fruit sector is increasingly switching a larger part of its exports to Africa, the Far East and Asia and the Middle East,” says Hortgro’s Jacques du Preez. The latest figures for the 2016 season show that South Africa now exports 62% of its apples to these destinations, and this percentage is likely to grow in future.
Mr Du Preez told Eurofruit that European producers have been developing better storage techniques, narrowing the South African window somewhat. This season high European stocks have conspired to make marketing there more difficult, and it seems as if the Chilean competitors are willing to accept lower prices than the South Africans.
According to WAPA there will be no overhanging stocks from the previous season in Europe, a better balance between fresh and processed output and limited pressure from the Southern Hemisphere. “Consequently, the season will start with less pressure than last year,” according to the statement.
[divider]It also seems as if the European producers have found a way to deal with the disruption of trade with Russia. “An increase in exports to new markets during the past few years has compensated to a certain degree for the adverse effects of Russia’s on-going embargo, which will continue be felt by EU growers,” reports Fruitnet.com.
It is however unlikely that the new trends in South African supply will be affected only by the seasonal occurrence of lower crops in Europe. South African growers and producers have developed strong and growing markets in Africa, the Middle and Far East. In West Africa the effect of the drop in the oil price on the local economies has been less than originally expected, while stronger supply relations and supply infrastructure are now also favouring higher exports to the East.