The 2020 pecan nut harvest is currently underway in most of South Africa’s production regions. According to André Coetzee, chairperson of the South African Pecan Producers’
Association (SAPPA), the harvest was looking promising so far.
“However, the final figures for the current pecan nut season’s volumes are not yet
available, as it is still too early to make any predictions.”
According to Dries Duvenhage, a pecan nut farmer near Hartswater, the pecan nut
production area around the Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme had experienced a good production
season thus far.
“We generally experienced a moderate season with sufficient water. Currently, the crop on the trees look good, and so does the quality of the nuts. We are cautiously optimistic that this season will be better [than] the previous year.”
He said the previous year’s pecan nut crop amounted to 16 500t. Duvenhage told Farmer’s Weekly that there was some concern about how the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in China, South Africa’s largest export market for pecan nuts, would affect that country’s procurement of nut supplies.
“Fortunately, the feedback we are currently receiving from the processors is that the demand from China is still good. It looks like it could be a good marketing year for the industry as well.”
According to Coetzee, around 80% of South Africa’s pecan nuts were destined for the Far East, mostly China, as nut-in-shell (NIS).
“Despite the uncertainty surrounding the [COVID-19] outbreak, China is ready to
receive our products since their stocks are quite low. However, logistics appear to be a challenge this year due to the scarcity of reefer containers. This is not just a problem for our industry, but a global challenge.”
In 2019, the average NIS price paid for pecan nuts was between R68/kg and R70/kg,
according to Duvenhage.
He expected that pecan nut prices could be up to 10% higher than last year due to the weak exchange rate. However, he stressed that it would all depend on the US dollar price.
According to Coetzee, current indications were that the US dollar price would be in the lower region.
“We know there is a demand for pecans, but we do not know at what price.”