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Cape fruit farmers expect a good harvest this season and increased exports

Pear export projections for this year also show an increase of 12% for this season compared with the previous season. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Pear export projections for this year also show an increase of 12% for this season compared with the previous season. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 25, 2022

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Cape Town - With good rainfall in the province since 2018, it is expected that the improved water availability will boost agricultural production, thereby increasing fruit exports from the province.

Hortgro’s export estimates for apples projects an increase of 6% in 2022 compared with last year.

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Pear export projections for this year also show an increase of 12% for this season compared with the previous season.

Nectarine exports are projected to grow by 26% and peach exports are also projected to show positive growth of 2% this season compared with the previous one.

The organisation attributes the increase in the export estimate to, among others, the young orchards coming into production.

Regions showing positive growth are Ceres, Berg River, Klein Karoo and Stellenbosch.

Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer said in light of many disruptions to international trade due to Covid-19, trade facilitation bottlenecks continued to threaten the reliable supply of key agricultural products. He said despite this, agriculture was pushing forward.

“The Western Cape agricultural sector is export-oriented and contributes 53% to national agricultural exports. In 2020, the Western Cape Province exported R78.68 billion worth of combined agricultural and agri-processing products. Eight of the 10 biggest export products from the Western Cape have an agricultural foundation. So agriculture is pushing forward,” he said.

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Agri Western Cape CEO Jannie Strydom said an increase in fruit exports showed the capability of Western Cape producers, despite major challenges. He said although this was wonderful news, the state of infrastructure, such as ports, needed to function at capacity for agriculture to keep on growing and contributing to the economy.

African Farmers Association of South Africa (Afasa) spokesperson Ismail Motala said they are pleased that fruit farmers of the province are going to have an excellent year, especially with rising input costs.

However, Motala said that this must not take away the fact that black fruit farmers were in the extreme minority in the province.

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Motala said MEC Meyer has not acknowledged the lack of transformation nor does he recognise the need to address the economic disparity between white farmers and black farmers.

“In light of this, we call on the political leadership and the agricultural leaders of the province to begin a dialogue to develop a social contract that will ensure real and true transformation of the agricultural economy of the province. We have an extremely rich agriculture economy. However, it is very much untransformed, he said.

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