Pome fruit doing well in spite of drought

Despite suffering the worst drought in decades, South Africa’s pome fruit industry fared relatively well compared with initial expectations, according to Hortgro, the organisation which represents South Africa’s deciduous fruit industry.

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Hortgro’s latest forecast predicts a total apple export crop of 32,3 million cartons, 2% lower than the previous year. “To date apple exports have already reached 21,3 million cartons which means that 65% of the total expected export volume for the 2016 season have already been realized,” said Hortgro’s information officer Thea Visser.

The expected export volume for pears is 16,6 million cartons, 9% higher than the previous year, of which 15,8 million cartons have already been exported.

According to Visser the slight increase in pears is mainly due to new plantings coming into production as well as the recovery of orchards from hail damage in the Langkloof production region.

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However, the severe drought conditions have taken its toll on certain production areas. Ceres, the largest production area for pome fruit, has been one of the worst affected. “This led to lower than expected harvests for this region,” said Visser.