The 2021 harvest season finished with excellent crops, auguring well for this year’s export season, said Western Cape Agriculture MEC Dr Ivan Meyer. Picture: Zanele Zulu/African News Agency (ANA)
The 2021 harvest season finished with excellent crops, auguring well for this year’s export season, said Western Cape Agriculture MEC Dr Ivan Meyer. Picture: Zanele Zulu/African News Agency (ANA)

Excellent crops ‘augur well for 2021 export season’

By Given Majola Time of article published Aug 25, 2021

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THE 2021 HARVEST season finished with excellent crops, auguring well for this year’s export season, said Western Cape Agriculture MEC Dr Ivan Meyer.

The province’s Department of Agriculture said 24.66 million cartons of apples had been exported in the year to date. Of these, 29 percent had been exported to the Far East, 22 percent to Africa and 22 percent to the UK.

A total of 12.596 million cartons of pears have been exported: 31 percent to the EU, 19 percent to the Far East, and 18 percent to Russia and the Middle East, respectively. The industry expected apples passed for export to increase to 42.55 million cartons, a 16 percent increase, and pears to 17.47 million cartons, a 4 percent increase. If this materialised, the department said it would represent a record volume.

Meyer said he was, however, concerned about the possible detrimental impact on the province’s exports caused by shipping delays due to wind and equipment breakdowns, vessels omitting, and container shortages.

“Therefore, I support the industry’s call to Transnet to put measures in place to make up for this lost time by procuring new equipment,” said Meyer.

FNB Agri-Business senior agricultural economist Paul Makube said the major export commodity was citrus. Seasonal availability in the second quarter saw volumes rise exponentially to 817 023 tons, which was up 1.6 percent year-on-year (y/y), according to TradeMap data. This brought total citrus exports for the first half of this year to 852 964 tons, which was up 0.7 percent.

The health benefits associated with citrus commodities in the wake of Covid-19 underpinned the good export performance.

Second-quarter citrus export revenue reached $626.59 million (about R9.5 billion), 14.2 percent higher y/y, while the cumulative total rose by 12.2 percent to $655.95m in the first half of this year. Of the top 10 country destinations, the Netherlands accounted for 20.6 percent of the second-quarter and 19.8 percent of the first-half volumes, but both were 14 percent down on the previous year.

Meanwhile, the Citrus Growers Association has pegged its estimate of citrus exports at 155.3 million 15kg cartons, which was well above the volumes last year.

The cumulative y/y exports of grapefruit, lemons and soft citrus for the year to week 30 of the export season had increased by 15 percent (14.64 million cartons), 1 percent (21.77 million cartons) and 9 percent (16.01 million cartons), respectively. In other fruits, apple exports were already 5 percent ahead of the 2020 levels, at 23.54 million cartons.

Makube said the category of nuts, fresh or dried (excluding coconuts and Brazil nuts), showed a sharp increase of 414 percent quarter-on-quarter (q/q) to 11 635 tons, which was down 10 percent y/y.

This brought the total quantity shipped in the first half to 13 897 tons, which was down by 10 percent y/y, reflecting the tough trading environment and the subdued demand from China. China’s share of the South African product was 41 percent in the second quarter and 35 percent in the year to June. Total Chinese second-quarter imports of the South African product were substantially higher q/q, but were 15 percent lower compared to the same period last year.

The meat category (meat and edible meat offal) posted strong gains in exports in the second quarter.

“This brought the total year to June meat exports to 71 707 tons, which is 46 percent higher year-on-year. Kuwait accounted for 50 percent and 34 percent respectively of the second-quarter and first-half total South African meat exports.

“The overall good export revenue was underpinned by strong export demand despite the second quarter of 2021.”

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