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Opal builds presence and promise in Europe, South Africa

With new Opal apple marketers and growers popping up around Europe and trials underway by South African produce giant DuToit, expectations are high that the Czech-origin variety – known scientifically as UEB 32642 -could reinvigorate the yellow category. As the second part of a series on Opal, at www.freshfruitportal.com we speak with key proponents of this apple which has been met with rave reviews around the world.

“Even people who usually don’t buy Golden Delicious apples would buy an Opal-branded apple if they knew how it eats,” according to Michael Weber of Germany-based Fruit Select, which holds the European marketing rights.

Following the success of UEB 32642 grown by Broetje Orchards in the U.S. Northwest, 64 trial plantings were established in Europe in 2007.

The initial focus had been on the British, German and Austrian markets, with exclusive deals though Univeg UK and SanLucar, but Weber said Opal was now moving toward the traditional yellow apple countries of Spain, Italy and France.

“We’re taking a step-by step approach. Univeg has been selling commercial volumes for four years and SanLucar for two years, so that is phase one,” he said.

“In these countries there is a relatively low appreciation for yellow apples, and so it was there we started the Opal project to revitalize the category.

“We recently had meetings in Spain where the market was evaluated, and we now have two new partners there – Orchard Fruit and Nufri. This year we are on our way to sign agreements to get Italian companies involved.”

While the Mediterranean countries have generally been oriented toward yellow varieties, Weber has noticed a trend of marketers struggling with sales and looking to new bicolored apples like Envy, Jazz and Kanzi.

One reason for this could be yellow varieties’ tendency to lose their crunch in the heat, and Weber therefore hoped Opal’s characteristics could help to turn the tables.

“Our trial plots in Catalonia, Spain, and the Italian provinces of Piedmont, Trentino and South Tyrol show very promising results,” he said.

“One of the biggest innovations is that it holds the crunch even under the heat. From the Czech Republic you don’t know if an apple can stand the heat they have in places like Washington State, South Africa or Spain, but it’s so important.”

Weber added the variety’s high Brix levels of around 15-16 were counterbalanced with acidity, creating a ‘universal’ flavor.

“The U.K. and German consumers like it, but so do the Italians and the Spanish. So we’re relatively confident that it matches consumer expectations in different markets and cultures,” he said.

With production set to grow rapidly from the current 3,000 metric tons (MT), Weber believes the variety could one day take a chunk of the European Golden Delicious market.

“I personally believe that a share of 2-3% of the market is achievable,” he said, adding 1% of the Golden Delicious market stood for around 22,000MT.

“When will this be the case? We don’t know. Possibly between 2026 and 2030.”

Brand recognition growing in the U.K.

In the U.K., where the number of planted trees has shot up from 2000 seven years ago to 136,000 today, Univeg UK is working hard to boost consumer loyalty and extend the marketing window.

Hannah Surtees, head of category marketing and insight, highlighted that plantings had been established in various different counties, which is important in a country where consumers have a strong preference for local produce.

“It’s great that Opal can grow well in the U.K. with sustainable returns for growers to make it viable in the future,” she said.

“For me it’s a brand and a product that’s fantastically exciting. Over the last few years while I’ve been involved with it we have done very consumer-focused marketing activities and the customers are absolutely wowed by it.”

Surtees said it had been a challenge launching a new apple variety in the U.K. market, which nowadays offers huge choice but is dominated by a select few.

“The market’s become increasingly busy with a huge range for shoppers, which brings both positives and negatives,” she said.

“The positives are it’s really exciting for consumers if they can see that range of choice and that there’s definitely an apple out there for everybody, but then on the reverse of that there’s a continued challenge for space.

“Around 70% of sales still go through five core varieties – Royal Gala, Pink Lady, Braeburn, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious – and then you have a large tail of new products, which are very exciting and offer consumers great choice.”

She added while consumer insight groups had pointed out many shoppers have preconceived negative ideas about yellow apples, when given Opal to try this ‘completely switched’.

“It’s a consumer paradox, yes it’s yellow on the outside, but it’s everything you want and more on the inside,” she said.

Univeg UK has brought Opal to various food festivals around the country over the years, including the BBC Good Food Show, and has been ramping up its social media presence to build brand awareness and loyalty.

Surtees is now hoping to extend the marketing season as much as possible, both through controlled atmosphere storage and greater availability.

“For the next few years it’s about building better recognition for what a great eating apple it is and that outstanding flavor, which drives repeat purchases back to the product to continue growing sales,” she said.

Dutoit prepares for first commercial volumes

One of the major counterseasonal suppliers to the U.K. in the future is likely to be South Africa, where produce company Dutoit is one of several that has been trialling production for a few years.

The leading fruit packer and exporter has various Opal orchards in four areas around the Western Cape, and was able to evaluate the first fruit in 2013.

“A semi-commercial trial of 1150 trees was made in the Koue Bokkeveld in 2012. This was a calculated risk based on information gathered first hand from visits to Broetje in the USA and various growers in France and Germany,” produce development manager Tanith Freeman said.

“The past two seasons we have been able to harvest a good sample for packing and storage trials.”

Freeman said the variety seemed to grow well in a wide range of micro-climates in the Western and Eastern Cape.  Sites to avoid are ones where Golden Delicious generally does not do well and where there is a historic high incidence of russet

The first small commercial volumes are expected next year, and while Dutoit is free to export to whichever company it chooses, Freeman said Univeg UK and SanLucar would be the natural choices to begin with.

“Considering the amount of marketing done in the UK by Univeg and SanLucar in Germany, I do believe these two companies would our first port of call,” she said.

“This year branded samples were sent to selected African markets. Their acceptance remains to be seen as Africa prefers a green Golden.

“It will be a huge challenge to position Opal as a different tasting experience against a perception of overripe Goldens.”

Representatives of TopFruit, which manages UEB 32642 in South Africa, emphasized the variety was in its very early stages in the country, but they believed it had strong potential.

“There are 33,500 trees currently in the ground, of which the bulk is planted with Dutoit, however not all trees are bearing as most were only planted in 2014 and 2015,” Pome fruit operations manager Corné Grundlingh said.

“Therefore we had small volumes this season, of which a few trial cartons were sent to Africa to test the consumers’ response, and some were introduced into the South African domestic market.”

While Europe is a key market for South African apple exports, research and trials will be carried out in a range of markets around the world in due course.

There are currently six South African companies trialing Opal orchards, but Top Fruits is looking to grow this number.

“We’d love to expand, we think it’s a great variety,” said pome fruit manager Peter Allderman.

He highlighted that feedback for the variety so far had been ‘extremely positive’, adding it was a relatively easy variety to grow.

“It has many grower-friendly characteristics. Most importantly it’s scab resistant and it’s also fairly resistant to powdery mildew, but also it’s very productive,” he said.

As for the prospects of Opal in South Africa, Allderman was hopeful for a bright future.

“At a time when we are facing declining per-capita consumption of apples, this is the kind of apple that could reverse that trend,” he said.

“We’d like to see it do very well. It’s a new category. Pink Lady was fantastic in that it introduced the pink category, and the Opal is not just a yellow apple – we’d like to see it start the gold category.

“It’s very early days, but hopefully consumers will like it and that taste and flavor is what will bring them back to it.”

Related stories: “Geometric growth” ahead for Opal apples

“Varieties are created by nature,” said Opal apple breeder

www.freshfruitportal.com

 

FreshFruitPortal.com

South Africa: First apples to China in January

South Africa: First apples to China in January

Last week Hortgro announced that South African apples would gain entry to the Chinese market, the authorities on both sides are just finalising the list of certified producers and packhouses and carrying out inspections.

Any grower in South Africa is free to send apples to China as long as they have registered and have the correct certifications.

Jacques du Preez from Hortgro said, all going well, the first shipments will start in January 2015, in line with the export season for South African apples, “As with any new market, we will most likely start off slowly and build up the volumes.” 

The varieties being shipped will most likely be Royal Gala, Fuji and Granny Smiths. Du Preez said that China would not be an easy market as they already produce huge volumes of apples domestically.

He hopes that now that everything is in place China will soon be open to pears as well, “Most of the growers who are already registered for apples also produce pears.”

As for volumes, South Africa should see a normal production this year after an off year last season. “We will most likely send a bit less to Europe due to the abundance on the market already because of high European production and the Russian ban, but the volumes to the UK should be back to normal after being down last season due to Chile’s abundance of small fruit.”

“Africa is also a growing market so we will send more there too.” Russia is also open to South African exporters but Du Preez does not expect exports there to significantly increase.

For more information:
Jacques du Preez
HORTGRO
Eamil: [email protected]
Tel: +27 82 864 8149

Publication date: 12/9/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

South Africa doubles citrus exports to the East

South Africa doubles citrus exports to the East

This year has been difficult in most markets for South African citrus producers, particularly the EU, with the CBS issue. Justin Chadwick, of South Africa’s Citrus Growers Association, explains that “we’ve had to implement a series of measures that are making citrus shipping to the EU more difficult and costly and people are already considering alternatives.”

Justin says that “fortunately, the eastern markets are starting to grow with volumes almost doubling this year. This includes China, which has strict requirements, but where we are shipping a lot of oranges and other citrus fruits, but some soft citrus and lemons are sensitive to cold treatments which limits what we can send.” He affirms that “there seems to be a shortage in the supply of lemons all around the world, and in China they are in high demand, so we’ve had an amazing year overall, we probably could have sold our lemon crop twice.”


Justin Chadwick at China FVF(right), with Anton Rabe, HortGro and Richard Owen, PMA

Meanwhile, at the other side of the scale, grapefruit continues to disappoint. Justin believes that “consumers don’t currently favour that kind of fruit. The only exception is South Korea, where our exports have considerably increased, from 60,000 cartons last year to 400,000 this year.”

Regarding oranges, South Africa has achieved a record crop this year, reaching 15.2 million 15kg cartons. The market conditions have been very difficult, firstly in the EU but also the US had a large crop.

According to Justin, “the main issue is that we ship 45 million cartons a year to the EU, and there’s no market that will take that sort of volume; the EU also demands very specific sizes and quality, which the eastern markets don’t want, so finding alternative markets is not easy.”

He states that a couple of weeks ago, export figures to the EU were 14% down, and production from its competitors in the Southern Hemisphere, like Australia and South America, is also on the rise. “Competition in the U.S. market, for example, based on quality and service, is huge, but it also offers opportunities for us all to expand.”

Publication date: 11/25/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

South Africa doubles citrus exports to the East

South Africa doubles citrus exports to the East

This year has been difficult in most markets for South African citrus producers, particularly the EU, with the CBS issue. Justin Chadwick, of South Africa’s Citrus Growers Association, explains that “we’ve had to implement a series of measures that are making citrus shipping to the EU more difficult and costly and people are already considering alternatives.”

Justin says that “fortunately, the eastern markets are starting to grow with volumes almost doubling this year. This includes China, which has strict requirements, but where we are shipping a lot of oranges and other citrus fruits, but some soft citrus and lemons are sensitive to cold treatments which limits what we can send.” He affirms that “there seems to be a shortage in the supply of lemons all around the world, and in China they are in high demand, so we’ve had an amazing year overall, we probably could have sold our lemon crop twice.”


Justin Chadwick at China FVF(right), with Anton Rabe, HortGro and Richard Owen, PMA

Meanwhile, at the other side of the scale, grapefruit continues to disappoint. Justin believes that “consumers don’t currently favour that kind of fruit. The only exception is South Korea, where our exports have considerably increased, from 60,000 cartons last year to 400,000 this year.”

Regarding oranges, South Africa has achieved a record crop this year, reaching 15.2 million 15kg cartons. The market conditions have been very difficult, firstly in the EU but also the US had a large crop.

According to Justin, “the main issue is that we ship 45 million cartons a year to the EU, and there’s no market that will take that sort of volume; the EU also demands very specific sizes and quality, which the eastern markets don’t want, so finding alternative markets is not easy.”

He states that a couple of weeks ago, export figures to the EU were 14% down, and production from its competitors in the Southern Hemisphere, like Australia and South America, is also on the rise. “Competition in the U.S. market, for example, based on quality and service, is huge, but it also offers opportunities for us all to expand.”

Publication date: 11/25/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

South Africa doubles citrus exports to the East

South Africa doubles citrus exports to the East

This year has been difficult in most markets for South African citrus producers, particularly the EU, with the CBS issue. Justin Chadwick, of South Africa’s Citrus Growers Association, explains that “we’ve had to implement a series of measures that are making citrus shipping to the EU more difficult and costly and people are already considering alternatives.”

Justin says that “fortunately, the eastern markets are starting to grow with volumes almost doubling this year. This includes China, which has strict requirements, but where we are shipping a lot of oranges and other citrus fruits, but some soft citrus and lemons are sensitive to cold treatments which limits what we can send.” He affirms that “there seems to be a shortage in the supply of lemons all around the world, and in China they are in high demand, so we’ve had an amazing year overall, we probably could have sold our lemon crop twice.”


Justin Chadwick at China FVF(right), with Anton Rabe, HortGro and Richard Owen, PMA

Meanwhile, at the other side of the scale, grapefruit continues to disappoint. Justin believes that “consumers don’t currently favour that kind of fruit. The only exception is South Korea, where our exports have considerably increased, from 60,000 cartons last year to 400,000 this year.”

Regarding oranges, South Africa has achieved a record crop this year, reaching 15.2 million 15kg cartons. The market conditions have been very difficult, firstly in the EU but also the US had a large crop.

According to Justin, “the main issue is that we ship 45 million cartons a year to the EU, and there’s no market that will take that sort of volume; the EU also demands very specific sizes and quality, which the eastern markets don’t want, so finding alternative markets is not easy.”

He states that a couple of weeks ago, export figures to the EU were 14% down, and production from its competitors in the Southern Hemisphere, like Australia and South America, is also on the rise. “Competition in the U.S. market, for example, based on quality and service, is huge, but it also offers opportunities for us all to expand.”

Publication date: 11/25/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

South Africa: Increased volumes of grapes expected

South Africa: Increased volumes of grapes expected

South Africa’s table grape crop is expected to be up on last season by 4-7%. Last season the country had to deal with adverse weather which affected volumes, this season’s volumes are more online with the volumes from the 2012/13 season and will be boosted by new planting coming into production.

According to Rhomona Gounden from SATI, harvesting will begin seven days earlier than normal. the total volume is expected to be between 52.9 and 54.3 million (4.5 equivalent boxes).

A few weeks ago the Orange River Region suffered from hail storms, despite this the volumes are expected to increase from 15 million carton last season to 16.5-16.8 million cartons this year.

An updated second crop estimate will be published early December 2014.
 
 
For more information:
Rhomona Gounden
SATI
Email: [email protected]
 

 

Publication date: 10/21/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Challenges for the fresh produce industry in Africa

Challenges for the fresh produce industry in Africa

Over the past few weeks, incidents such as the Ebola crisis in Africa or the Russian embargo on the U.S., the E.U. and Australia, as well as other problems, have had a great impact on trade for some of the world’s emerging economies. This was one of the topics discussed at the recent Cool Logistics Conference in Rotterdam.

On the issue of citrus black spot, Citrus Growers Association EU envoy Deon Joubert affirms that about 1 million people in South Africa with an income of 8 billion Rand rely on this industry, which has a huge European focus. “South Africa’s goal now is to show that what we can be trusted to do what we are best at: to export healthy food at an affordable price.”

Deon assures that a great effort has been carried out along with growers to tackle the problem, with fantastic results. “Some 3,000 orchards were voluntarily withdrawn by the growers; the second step was spraying and orchard sanitation; additionally, we are pre-screening all arrivals before inspection to mitigate the risk of further CBS interceptions.”

He also states that “communication and information are always the solution to most problems, so we have tried to find out exactly what was going on, on both sides, and to communicate what we know to fill any gaps information gaps.”

For his part, and still in the African continent, Khaled Fawzy, managing director of the Egyptian company Trimar Forwardind, explains that Egypt’s political situation is still in turmoil, although it is also showing signs of improvement, “which is positive news for the economy and businesses all around.”

The Suez Canal remains one of Egypt’s most important assets and the biggest source of foreign currency. “The government has taken a leap of faith in starting two mega-projects, one to create a side canal to speed up and increase shipping traffic, and another to set up a huge logistics hub, developing the areas around the canal,” explains Khaled.

He assures that there is also much room for improvement in the country’s infrastructures, including roads and railways, and much money is going towards the expansion of the country’s storage facilities.

According to Khaled, Egypt has a lot of potential in the medium and long-term, with great potential as a consumer, despite being currently hampered by difficulties to attract foreign investment, such as increasing taxes or lack of clarity when it comes to energy costs or wages. “Egypt is a bit of a work in progress, but within 2-3 years it will be a lot more reliable.”

Regarding Egypt’s current fruit and vegetable exports, oranges remain the most important product. It is the world’s sixth largest producer and second largest exporter, shipping about half of its production. Grapes, onions and potatoes are also quite relevant. The most noteworthy aspect in terms of markets is that “due to The Russian ban, Egypt’s export volumes to this destination are expected to grow significantly in the short term.”

Lastly, Marc Rooms, of Lancaster/Daforco, a company specialised in the shipment of frozen goods to Africa, says that “while the rest of the world tries to go to the moon, in Africa we still try to get to the next village.”

He states that, according to the United Nations report, African countries need to promote industrial development to spur economic progress and reduce poverty. “While 15% of the world’s population live in Africa, only 1% of the global manufacturing takes place there, which is mostly due to poor transport, communication and energy infrastructures.”

With some exceptions, South Africa is the only large, all seasons, perishable product exporter. “There is a large domestic market, so I believe that East and West Africa would rather remain import-focused, mainly for vegetables, such as onions and potatoes,” says Marc.

He believes that “Africa presents a few challenges. It is often not politically stable and often has cumbersome trade regulations. Congestion in some ports also at times becomes problematic, and last, but not least, diseases can simply put a stop to everything.”

Despite the various economies coexisting, Marc wonders whether Africa could become the next China. “It has low labour costs and plenty of resources. With additional demand for commodities, new industries are developing, and this is positive for container carriers, as more inbound and outbound cargo entails a beneficial two-way flow.”

According to Marc, Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya also represent a great opportunity for agricultural produce, with a vast labour force. “They have the necessary water supply and a good fertile soil. They are also close to the Middle East; an area of great demand.”

Lastly, Marc affirms that Africa has great potential as an important hub in outsourcing, mostly in Kenya and South Africa; “lands which share Europe’s time zone, have decent IT structures, connectivity and political stability. How far will outsourcing go? We don’t know, but it has already drastically changed our way of doing business.”

Publication date: 10/15/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Challenges for the fresh produce industry in Africa

Challenges for the fresh produce industry in Africa

Over the past few weeks, incidents such as the Ebola crisis in Africa or the Russian embargo on the U.S., the E.U. and Australia, as well as other problems, have had a great impact on trade for some of the world’s emerging economies. This was one of the topics discussed at the recent Cool Logistics Conference in Rotterdam.

On the issue of citrus black spot, Citrus Growers Association EU envoy Deon Joubert affirms that about 1 million people in South Africa with an income of 8 billion Rand rely on this industry, which has a huge European focus. “South Africa’s goal now is to show that what we can be trusted to do what we are best at: to export healthy food at an affordable price.”

Deon assures that a great effort has been carried out along with growers to tackle the problem, with fantastic results. “Some 3,000 orchards were voluntarily withdrawn by the growers; the second step was spraying and orchard sanitation; additionally, we are pre-screening all arrivals before inspection to mitigate the risk of further CBS interceptions.”

He also states that “communication and information are always the solution to most problems, so we have tried to find out exactly what was going on, on both sides, and to communicate what we know to fill any gaps information gaps.”

For his part, and still in the African continent, Khaled Fawzy, managing director of the Egyptian company Trimar Forwardind, explains that Egypt’s political situation is still in turmoil, although it is also showing signs of improvement, “which is positive news for the economy and businesses all around.”

The Suez Canal remains one of Egypt’s most important assets and the biggest source of foreign currency. “The government has taken a leap of faith in starting two mega-projects, one to create a side canal to speed up and increase shipping traffic, and another to set up a huge logistics hub, developing the areas around the canal,” explains Khaled.

He assures that there is also much room for improvement in the country’s infrastructures, including roads and railways, and much money is going towards the expansion of the country’s storage facilities.

According to Khaled, Egypt has a lot of potential in the medium and long-term, with great potential as a consumer, despite being currently hampered by difficulties to attract foreign investment, such as increasing taxes or lack of clarity when it comes to energy costs or wages. “Egypt is a bit of a work in progress, but within 2-3 years it will be a lot more reliable.”

Regarding Egypt’s current fruit and vegetable exports, oranges remain the most important product. It is the world’s sixth largest producer and second largest exporter, shipping about half of its production. Grapes, onions and potatoes are also quite relevant. The most noteworthy aspect in terms of markets is that “due to The Russian ban, Egypt’s export volumes to this destination are expected to grow significantly in the short term.”

Lastly, Marc Rooms, of Lancaster/Daforco, a company specialised in the shipment of frozen goods to Africa, says that “while the rest of the world tries to go to the moon, in Africa we still try to get to the next village.”

He states that, according to the United Nations report, African countries need to promote industrial development to spur economic progress and reduce poverty. “While 15% of the world’s population live in Africa, only 1% of the global manufacturing takes place there, which is mostly due to poor transport, communication and energy infrastructures.”

With some exceptions, South Africa is the only large, all seasons, perishable product exporter. “There is a large domestic market, so I believe that East and West Africa would rather remain import-focused, mainly for vegetables, such as onions and potatoes,” says Marc.

He believes that “Africa presents a few challenges. It is often not politically stable and often has cumbersome trade regulations. Congestion in some ports also at times becomes problematic, and last, but not least, diseases can simply put a stop to everything.”

Despite the various economies coexisting, Marc wonders whether Africa could become the next China. “It has low labour costs and plenty of resources. With additional demand for commodities, new industries are developing, and this is positive for container carriers, as more inbound and outbound cargo entails a beneficial two-way flow.”

According to Marc, Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya also represent a great opportunity for agricultural produce, with a vast labour force. “They have the necessary water supply and a good fertile soil. They are also close to the Middle East; an area of great demand.”

Lastly, Marc affirms that Africa has great potential as an important hub in outsourcing, mostly in Kenya and South Africa; “lands which share Europe’s time zone, have decent IT structures, connectivity and political stability. How far will outsourcing go? We don’t know, but it has already drastically changed our way of doing business.”

Publication date: 10/15/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Challenges for the fresh produce industry in Africa

Challenges for the fresh produce industry in Africa

Over the past few weeks, incidents such as the Ebola crisis in Africa or the Russian embargo on the U.S., the E.U. and Australia, as well as other problems, have had a great impact on trade for some of the world’s emerging economies. This was one of the topics discussed at the recent Cool Logistics Conference in Rotterdam.

On the issue of citrus black spot, Citrus Growers Association EU envoy Deon Joubert affirms that about 1 million people in South Africa with an income of 8 billion Rand rely on this industry, which has a huge European focus. “South Africa’s goal now is to show that what we can be trusted to do what we are best at: to export healthy food at an affordable price.”

Deon assures that a great effort has been carried out along with growers to tackle the problem, with fantastic results. “Some 3,000 orchards were voluntarily withdrawn by the growers; the second step was spraying and orchard sanitation; additionally, we are pre-screening all arrivals before inspection to mitigate the risk of further CBS interceptions.”

He also states that “communication and information are always the solution to most problems, so we have tried to find out exactly what was going on, on both sides, and to communicate what we know to fill any gaps information gaps.”

For his part, and still in the African continent, Khaled Fawzy, managing director of the Egyptian company Trimar Forwardind, explains that Egypt’s political situation is still in turmoil, although it is also showing signs of improvement, “which is positive news for the economy and businesses all around.”

The Suez Canal remains one of Egypt’s most important assets and the biggest source of foreign currency. “The government has taken a leap of faith in starting two mega-projects, one to create a side canal to speed up and increase shipping traffic, and another to set up a huge logistics hub, developing the areas around the canal,” explains Khaled.

He assures that there is also much room for improvement in the country’s infrastructures, including roads and railways, and much money is going towards the expansion of the country’s storage facilities.

According to Khaled, Egypt has a lot of potential in the medium and long-term, with great potential as a consumer, despite being currently hampered by difficulties to attract foreign investment, such as increasing taxes or lack of clarity when it comes to energy costs or wages. “Egypt is a bit of a work in progress, but within 2-3 years it will be a lot more reliable.”

Regarding Egypt’s current fruit and vegetable exports, oranges remain the most important product. It is the world’s sixth largest producer and second largest exporter, shipping about half of its production. Grapes, onions and potatoes are also quite relevant. The most noteworthy aspect in terms of markets is that “due to The Russian ban, Egypt’s export volumes to this destination are expected to grow significantly in the short term.”

Lastly, Marc Rooms, of Lancaster/Daforco, a company specialised in the shipment of frozen goods to Africa, says that “while the rest of the world tries to go to the moon, in Africa we still try to get to the next village.”

He states that, according to the United Nations report, African countries need to promote industrial development to spur economic progress and reduce poverty. “While 15% of the world’s population live in Africa, only 1% of the global manufacturing takes place there, which is mostly due to poor transport, communication and energy infrastructures.”

With some exceptions, South Africa is the only large, all seasons, perishable product exporter. “There is a large domestic market, so I believe that East and West Africa would rather remain import-focused, mainly for vegetables, such as onions and potatoes,” says Marc.

He believes that “Africa presents a few challenges. It is often not politically stable and often has cumbersome trade regulations. Congestion in some ports also at times becomes problematic, and last, but not least, diseases can simply put a stop to everything.”

Despite the various economies coexisting, Marc wonders whether Africa could become the next China. “It has low labour costs and plenty of resources. With additional demand for commodities, new industries are developing, and this is positive for container carriers, as more inbound and outbound cargo entails a beneficial two-way flow.”

According to Marc, Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya also represent a great opportunity for agricultural produce, with a vast labour force. “They have the necessary water supply and a good fertile soil. They are also close to the Middle East; an area of great demand.”

Lastly, Marc affirms that Africa has great potential as an important hub in outsourcing, mostly in Kenya and South Africa; “lands which share Europe’s time zone, have decent IT structures, connectivity and political stability. How far will outsourcing go? We don’t know, but it has already drastically changed our way of doing business.”

Publication date: 10/15/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Despite hail storms South Africa predicts good season

Despite hail storms South Africa predicts good season

Following the hail storms which occurred in the Orange River Region and in the Saron/Halfmanshof area (part of the Berg River Region) last Monday, SATGI estimated losses in the Orange River Region of approximately 1 million 4.5 kg equivalent cartons. The volume affected in the Saron/Halfmanshof area is approximately 1.2 million 4.5kg equivalent cartons. It should however be noted that the final impact of hail damage will only be known once all product has been packed.

The vines were in the early growth phase, with the early varieties being at ±10 days prior to flowering, whilst the late varieties are ±4 weeks prior to flowering. Shoot lengths vary from 15cm (late varieties) to 40cm (early varieties). The normal start of the harvest period in this specific area is approximately Week 51/52.

The whole affected area covers approximately 600 ha in Saron/Halfmanshof. Although the hail damage differs from farm to farm, early assessments indicate that up to 1,200 000 million equivalent cartons were lost out of the ±2 500 000 million equivalent cartons packed annually in this area (almost 50% of production).

It should however be noted that the final impact of hail damage is only known once all product has been packed, as the visual damage on the vine differs considerably from the visual damage seen at maturity. Since this damage occurred prior to flowering, the small whole bunches that still looks fine now, may be lost in the next few weeks as a result of the stress the vine has now been exposed to (whole shoots were knocked off some vines).

The South African table grape industry anticipates a good 2014/15 packing season. In general, bud break and vine development were excellent over the last couple of months in all areas due to good chilling accumulation in winter. The excellent winter conditions also bode well for a good crop volume and quality for the season ahead.

Publication date: 10/6/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

South Africa: United Exports to send first blueberries to UK

South Africa: United Exports to send first blueberries to UK

United Exports will be shipping blueberries to the UK for the first time this season, harvesting of the first volumes got under way a month ago. The first fruit was harvested in May, but due to frost in the north of the country the season has started later than normal.

Blueberry production is in its early stages for the company in South Africa with around 10 ha in commercial production, with a further 50 ha currently being planted. The volumes from these areas will increase as the bushes mature. The company has until now been focussing on the domestic market. This season it will also airfreight blueberries to the UK and will do some seafreight trials.

The variety grown has been tested for shelf life of 42 days, which would allow exports via seafreight. The variety has been bred by “Early Blue”. United Exports is the exclusive licensee for South Africa, North & South America. The berries are currently being marketed under the “OZ blueberries” brand.

For more information contact: [email protected]

Publication date: 9/29/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

South Africa: United Exports to send first blueberries to UK

South Africa: United Exports to send first blueberries to UK

United Exports will be shipping blueberries to the UK for the first time this season, harvesting of the first volumes got under way a month ago. The first fruit was harvested in May, but due to frost in the north of the country the season has started later than normal.

Blueberry production is in its early stages for the company in South Africa with around 10 ha in commercial production, with a further 50 ha currently being planted. The volumes from these areas will increase as the bushes mature. The company has until now been focussing on the domestic market. This season it will also airfreight blueberries to the UK and will do some seafreight trials.

The variety grown has been tested for shelf life of 42 days, which would allow exports via seafreight. The variety has been bred by “Early Blue”. United Exports is the exclusive licensee for South Africa, North & South America. The berries are currently being marketed under the “OZ blueberries” brand.

For more information contact: [email protected]

Publication date: 9/29/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com