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Growth predicted for South African avocado industry

| Supplier news

The South African avocado industry is looking forward to a good year, as steadily increasing demand from both the local and international markets seems to hold.

Derek Donkin, CEO of the South African Avocado Growers Association reports that the industry expects 2018’s crop to weigh in at 125,000 tons. Half of this produce is destined for the export market, 40% will be consumed locally in the form of fresh avocados and the remaining 10% will be processed into foods like guacamole and avocado oil.


Donkin adds that, with the considerable health attributes of avocados having gained greater recognition around the world, demand is on the rise. The South African industry is gearing to keep pace: At present, commercial avocado plantings in South Africa total 17,000 hectares, growing by approximately 1,000 hectares every year. This expansion ensures that the industry is able to accommodate the growing local and export market.

The industry’s growth has additional advantages, including much needed job creation in rural areas.  Avocado farms, nurseries and pack houses currently employ around 8,200 permanent and 7,300 seasonal workers. Avocado production also creates significant employment for input suppliers such as fertilizer, implements, irrigation equipment and various other services industries along the entire value chain.

Agrisa.co.za reports there are approximately 340 commercial growers and 78 emerging growers. Moreover, the Association has engaged with local government in Limpopo and Mpumalanga in a number of initiatives aiming to further school smallholders, while many commercial avocado growers are facilitating industry transformation by including greater participation from black farmers throughout the value chain.

South Africa has, traditionally, been one of the top three exporters to Europe and SAAGA is working with the South African government to gain access to markets in new territories like the United States, China, Japan, India, Thailand, South Korea, Israel, Vietnam and Mexico. Negotiations with these countries are underway.

 

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