Oith the access of South African pears to China, the country’s avocado growers hope they will be the next fresh produce category to enter this lucrative market.
Avocado growers have been frustrated for some time at not being allowed to send their fruit to China.
The Far Eastern country’s “one category of fruit at a time” policy has caused frustration for South African fresh produce industries which cannot officially export their produce there.
To make matters worse, the conclusion of the protocol for pears was delayed by Covid-19, with the final agreement not being signed until December last year.
Clive Garrett, president of the South African Avocado Growers Association (SAAGA), told growers at its annual meeting that among its strategic objectives, market access remains the most important priority.
“I share the industry’s frustration that we haven’t opened up new markets yet,” he said. “If it were up to SAAGA, we would have already opened up the world to South African lawyers.
“With South African pears now having access to China, avocados are next,” he told growers. SAAGA is also working with other Eastern countries to access it.
“Japan will pay a virtual visit to South Africa in April or May this year to check research on cold treatment of Bactrocera dorsalis,” Garrett continued. “The Indian authorities are also hoping to carry out a physical visit in April or May. So we are seeing progress.
“What SAAGA has done and continues to do is to work closely with the DALRRD (South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) providing the necessary technical assistance and exercising sufficient pressure on the authorities to get things done.
“Ultimately, opening markets is the responsibility of governments because it involves bilateral trade negotiations,” Garrett explained. “These simply cannot be carried out by organizations such as ours. A good example remains the United States where the pork import problem in South Africa is currently hampering avocado exports to the United States. .
Garrett also said the big avocado harvest the industry was hoping for this year is unlikely to materialize.
Three seasons ago, South Africa passed the 20 million box export mark and after a somewhat disappointing performance last year, it was hoped that 2022 would see a bigger harvest.
“With increased planting in the country and good rains over the past few months, a bumper harvest is expected,” he added. “Due to early hail, an export crop of 15.5 million cartons is now expected, which will be close to last year’s harvest.”