The most awaited season for fruit is in full swing throughout South Africa, with 12 million containers of apples packaged and shipped. The export season for apples is about a third complete. Nine million boxes of pears are packed up, which is just half the volume estimated.

The estimations for both the pears and apples are consistently lowered since the initial estimates were made during the first week of the season due to inclement weather conditions and damage to crops. Apples’ current estimate is down by 7% over last year’s, following the initial estimate of an increase of 6% in 2022’s output, meaning that the actual decline is by 13% on the possibility. Pear estimates are lower by 14% compared to this year’s estimate, which is which is the lowest in the past three years.

“Hail that occurred in late 2012 which was followed by further hail just a couple of weeks later within the Langkloof region, is the primary cause of the reduction in the estimations. In addition to the hail storm, the weather has been very good and unseasonal rains were better than harmful,” said Jacques du Preez Director of General Management: Trade & Markets at HORTGRO.

South Africa has a very broad market base of apples. The top two markets are Far East & Asia and Africa as well as the local market. Europe as well as the UK are also excellent market as well. Russia is very strong for apples. Exports to India have really risen because exporters could use the in-transit cold treatment procedure that was approved last year.

Apples had been able to access China for some time but at the conclusion of the last year, pears were granted access. More than a million containers were already exported to China.

“Our production model has evolved and expanded to meet the requirements of different markets. The majority of the markets we target have different time frames when they would like to import, which is in line with our product range. Russia has been a challenge this year, however we’ve seen the pear volume that are going to Russia increase by 60 percentage this year. China as well as India are both very favorable markets that have experienced significant expansion. We’re very pleased with the volume of pears delivered to China the first time we were there. There is a lot of potential to expand further there.”

Jacques thinks of the coming two or three years the time to build up and doesn’t anticipate production to rise quickly.

“The following years will be very difficult for our growers who will have be able to face the pressures of rising cost, load-shedding, and insecure ports, as well as the associated logistics. We’re nevertheless optimistic about the future outlook for our industry and believe the possibility of a new growth phase that is expected to follow with a more flexible and adaptable sector. New markets are opening as well as demand growing from existing ones, which together is backed by the adaptability and resilience of our industry’s producers, bodes in the direction of the industry.”

For further information:

Jacques du Preez


Tel: +27 (0)21 870 2900