Fruit SA Market Development

BY DR MONO MASHABA, MARKET DEVELOPMENT

We recently returned from a trip to South Korea, Japan and China with a high-level Fruit South Africa (FSA) delegation. This trip focussed on following up on market-access related matters, with the relevant government authorities.

In 2017 our fresh fruit industry contributed 53% of the 246 000 tonnes total Southern Hemisphere Association of Fresh Fruit Exporters (SHAFFE) export to the Asia. Therefore, the East remains high on FSA’s radar of optimisation of global markets. Trade barriers that are currently prohibiting the export of SA fresh fruit to the Philippines were the topic of healthy debate during our visit to Manila. We remain confident of a favourable outcome for all, before the start of the 2019 season.

Korea is a potentially lucrative market for SA’s table grapes, despite fierce potential competition from Chile, Peru and Mexico. A pending verification visit by APQA before the end of the next table grape season, bodes well for this sub-sector of the industry. Citrus has also received favourable feedback, with avocado still being considered for market access to Korea. The FSA delegation also held discussions with retailers and importers.

During our visit to Japan discussions with the Ministries of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; as well as Health, Labour and Welfare presented an opportunity to review of our market access application for avocado (as well as optimisation of market access for table grapes and citrus; and the review of the current citrus export performance). FSA also hosted an informative seminar that was facilitated by the SA Embassy, with about 12 import companies in attendance. Japan and Korea are both net importers of agricultural products and remain elusive for SA products.

These visits, which were each productive in their own right, underscored the significance of a robust partnership between FSA and DAFF, to ensure that we continue to sing from the same hymnbook.

Fruit SA delegation visiting China

South Africa Fruit Trade

There has also been a significant growth in the past 10 years in the region.

During 2005 total imports to the region was 4 million tons and in 2016 the growth was more than 120% to a staggering 9.6 million tons.

The imports included intra-Asia trade and South African with its peers in the Southern Hemisphere which contributed about 20% of all imports at a tune of 1, 9 million tons. The Figures indicate that South Africa is only second in its peer group after Chile with 497 644 tons (26%) which constitutes about 18% of the country’s total fruit trade with the rest of the World.

Country Volume in T
Chile 526 775
South Africa 497 644
New Zealand 478 311
Australia 314 479
Peru 96 381
Argentina 26 230
Uruguay 2145
Total: 1 941 965
Dr Mashaba (left, front) during one of the 2017 visits.

Phytosatinary Issues

South Africa only contributes about 26% as in the above pie-chart which illustrate the potential that the region is ordering. The visit to the region was aimed at maintaining, optimising and broadening market access for fruits into this region which has become the global economic development hub of the world fueled by China.

In the meetings with government agencies, importers and potential importers, interest was expressed in regard to accessing South African fruit. Phytosatinary issues in Thailand, Philippines, China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam remains the biggest hindrance. In India, high tariffs also makes accessing that market very difficult. Fruit SA’s focus during the visits was mainly to lobby regulatory authorities of these targeted countries for market access.

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