In less than two years, South African pears gained access to the Chinese market, and now avocados have followed suit, surprising the fruit industry that usually expects such announcements to take much longer.
“We’re thrilled by how quickly the avocado application was approved—progress has been notably swifter than what we’ve seen in the past few years. Our colleagues in the stonefruit sector are up next for consideration in accessing the Chinese market, and we genuinely hope their application receives the same expedited treatment,” notes Elzette Schutte, Operational Manager at Berries ZA. Subsequently, the potential access for blueberries to the Chinese market will also be under consideration.
South Africa commenced its blueberry exports in week 25 and has experienced favorable results thus far. There has been a 23% year-to-date increase in exports compared to the 2022/2023 period, with an estimated export volume of 25,000 tonnes.
Although Europe and the UK remain the primary purchasers of South African blueberries, an additional 120 tonnes have been shipped to the Middle East by exporters.
The Far East has already received nearly 200 tonnes of South African blueberries. As the season progresses, Europe’s share is expected to catch up, and South Africa has nearly doubled its blueberry exports to the UK.
However, the strike led by Transnet employees last October disproportionately affected South African blueberry growers. The upcoming six weeks are crucial for the stability of the blueberry supply chain.
Labor unions representing Transnet employees are opposing the privatization deal for the port of Durban, causing unease within the industry.