Fredo’s Fresh Produce bulletin today brings you news on what the international fresh produce media have been reporting lately.

Tough markets worry South Africans

Early table grape regions have completed their packing but in the markets things are far from over.

For the early South African table grape regions, the harvesting and packing season is over, with attention now shifting to dealing with what is by all accounts a very difficult marketing season.

Red seedless grapes

To add insult to injury, South Africa experienced rolling electricity blackouts again this week as the national electricity supplier Eskom moved into a further period of crisis. Granted, most grape packhouses now have their own generators and can minimise disruption. However, these disruptions are affecting business activities throughout the value chain.

South African grape marketers who attend Fruit Logistica last week returned home under no illusion that it will be some time before the marketing of early season southern African grapes comes to an end.

This week SATI kept the overall forecast unchanged at between 63.2 and 70.1 million cartons. The export figure to date is about 800,000 cartons more than last year, but almost six million cartons behind the 2017-18 season when a total of 62m cartons was finally exported.

The Northern regions exceeded last year’s export volume and will end around seven million cartons. The Orange River was around 300,000 cartons short on last season and 18.5m cartons were finally exported. The Olifants River Region failed to recover from the drought that dominated the region last year. It exported around two million cartons compared with last year’s 2.3m and well short of the previous year’s 3.2m cartons.

The question is now whether the last two regions, the Berg River Valley and the Hex River Valley, will push the crop to the upper levels of SATI’s estimate.
Hoekstra brand proves its worth.

Established during South Africa’s regulated era, Aat Hoekstra’s brand still works its magic today.

Aat Hoekstra is best known for his table grape farming and breeding programmes in and around one of South Africa’s oldest towns, Paarl, in the Berg River Valley of the Cape region. What people do not realise is that, over the years, Hoekstra has also established an iconic brand which has contributed greatly to his success.

At Hoekstra farms

Often referred to as the Dutch settler who arrived at the Cape with ten pounds in his pocket, Hoekstra’s modest start has grown into one of the legendary South African grape farming operations. He has a number of production sites in the central and the northern parts of Paarl, boosted by central cold storage operations and an extremely successful export business. The name Hoekstra was turned into a brand – although, surprisingly, it was the export of melons that led the way for the business.

Under the regulations that governed South African fruit exports until 1997, Hoekstra could not export his own table grapes. He was however free to do so with melons, which was an uncontrolled fruit. The melon business to the UK and the Netherlands became a success story, while also laying the foundations for Hoekstra to establish his own table grape marketing operation as soon as the single channel business out of South Africa was lifted.
Now in his 80s, Hoekstra is firmly entrenched in the business, a smart and slick table grape operation. It stretches around the mountain, where inspired and dedicated staff walk in the footsteps of their leader.

(Read full story on,za – fruit)

SHAFFE elects new leadership

South Africa will occupy the presidency and Chile will be vice-president of the association for the next two years
The Southern Hemisphere Association of Fresh Fruit Exporters (SHAFFE) has elected Konanani Liphadzi, CEO of Fruit South Africa, as its new president at its annual meeting in Berlin last week. Ronald Bown of Chilean exporter association Asoex has been chosen as vice president.

Konanani Liphadzi,

Liphadzi replaces outgoing president Alan Pollard, CEO of Apples and Pears of New Zealand, who was praised for his efforts over the past two years to raise awareness of the growing challenges in biosecurity that accompany global commercial operations.

As SHAFFE’s former vice president, Liphadzi has worked on defining the association’s priorities in the last two years. She will continue to implement the results of the 2017 strategy review and work towards achieving greater efficiency in internal and external communication policy.
“SHAFFE is a great network of exchange between the main actors of the Southern Hemisphere, which allows a mutual and continuous learning among its participants,” she said.

The year of the South Africans

South Africa now leads two major international produce organizations
Following on the election of Konanani Liphadzi, CEO of Fruit South Africa, to the Southern Hemisphere Association of Fresh Fruit Exporters (SHAFFE) as it’s Chairperson, the World Apple and Pear Association’s (WAPA) nominated another South African as its Chairperson.

Nicholas Dicey

At Fruit Logistica in Berlin it was announced that South Africa’s Nicholas Dicey will lead the organisation. Poland’s Dominik Wozniak is to serve as vice president.

New WAPA Chairperson Nicholas Dicey says the objectives for his term at the organisation is to get meaningful and accurate statistics from all the apple and pear role players in the world. This he says will assist all to make meaningful marketing decisions.

“With the increase in world apple and pear production accurate information is required for effective marketing decisions and strategies to be implemented in keeping the market in equilibrium.”

He says not all countries are as well organised as the South African pome industry where information is available at the click of a button. “Other countries have diverse groupings representing their industry, which makes data gathering difficult.” reports on the outlook for SH apple season

WAPA points to increase in overall production volumes, with Chile continuing to lead the way, says a report on the fresh produce news leader,
Chile will remain the Southern Hemisphere’s largest apple producer despite a decline in its production volume this season, according to the World Apple and Pear Association’s (WAPA) 2019 forecast.

What’s in an apple?

The trade association tipped total Southern Hemisphere apple production to come in at 5.26m tonnes this year, up 2 per cent from 2018.
Chile is on track to produce a crop of 1.67m tonnes, a 5 per cent decline year-on-year but still ahead of second ranked Brazil (1.15m tonnes).
Fellow Latin American producer Argentina will harvest in the vicinity of 608,000 tonnes of apples in 2019, while estimates put South Africa’s crop at 928,000 tonnes, 5 per cent above last year’s yield of 884,000 tonnes.

While the distance between Australia and New Zealand may be growing on the rugby field, the gap between the neighbouring countries’ apple yields is closing. Australia is tipped to produce 318,000 tonnes of the fruit this year, up 9 per cent on the 292,000 tonnes it picked in 2018, while New Zealand’s crop should come in around 591,000 tonnes, 3 per cent above last year’s record haul of 567,000 tonnes.

Royal Gala continues to dominate the Southern Hemisphere’s varietal mix, with WAPA predicting 1.95m tonnes of the fruit will be picked across all producing nations in 2019. This would represent a decline of 7 per cent year-on-year.

Capespan unveils The Logistics Group

TLG introduced as a new integrated logistics service provider

South African fresh produce giant Capespan has announced the formation of The Logistics Group (TLG), a new integrated logistics service provider.

Fruit needs logistics

According to Capespan, it has spent the last four years investing in the capacity and capability expansion of its logistics operations. These expansions included several acquisitions such as commodity logistic operator, Tradekor, and port stevedoring service provider, Port Stevedoring, to broaden and diversify the value proposition of its logistics business.Capespan will now group together its entire logistics infrastructure, including its port terminal operator FPT, Tradekor, Port Stevedoring, its Mozambique operations MCT, freight forwarding service provider Contour Logistics and the technology enabled The Logistics Company into TLG as a focused and separately managed business.

Tonie Fuchs, managing director of Capespan Group, explained that its global fruit production and marketing businesses remained the core focus, while its logistics businesses will be consolidated into TLG to ensure a focus-based approach to increased logistical service levels across a broader spectrum of product capabilities and capacity.