Table of Contents


Also refer to the “Table grapes”, "Berries and exotic fruit" and “Fruit” chapters


1. Overview

Deciduous fruit is comprised of pome fruit and stone fruit.

  • Pome fruit: apples, pears
  • Stone fruit: peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots

Also included in the deciduous fruit category are grapes (see separate chapter), quinces, cherries, Persimmons, pomegranates (see the “Berries and exotic fruit" chapter) and figs.


2. International business environment

Top apple exporting countries: China (15%), Italy 12%, Poland 11%, USA 10%, Chile 8%, SA and France 6%. World’s total fresh apples exports amounts to 8.8 million tonnes (ITC, 2018).

The Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) Baseline looks at the performance of apples, pears, peaches and nectarines, plums, and apricots on the global market. Find the latest document at

See also:

  • World Apple and Pear Find the list of members for global contacts in deciduous fruit.
  • GOOD FRUIT GROWER – an international fruit magazine. Read about it at


3. Local business environment

Deciduous fruit is grown mainly in the Western Cape and in the Langkloof Valley of the Eastern Cape. Smaller production areas are found elsewhere in the country but mainly along the Orange River and in the Free State, Mpumalanga and Gauteng.

Pome fruit

More returns are generated through exports and South Africa sells almost half of its pome fruit on the international market.

  • Apples Exports go to the Africa, the Far East and Asia and the UK.
  • Pears Europe and Russia are the major markets for green pears. The Far East and Asia and the Middle East are the next largest markets.

Stone fruit

  • Peaches and Nectarines South Africa is a relatively small peach grower in global terms. Most of its peaches and nectarines are processed. The Middle East and the UK are the top destinations for exports. The smallest proportion is consumed in the local market as a fresh product. The Klein Karoo area is a leading producer of peaches and nectarines in South Africa followed by the Ceres area.
  • Plums South Africa is the third largest exporter of plums behind Chile and Spain (ITC 2016), its major markets being Europe, Russia and the Middle East. The remainder is consumed as fresh produce locally and a smaller percentage processed.
  • Apricots The primary markets for produced apricots are processing and drying. Some 8% are exported, mostly to Europe, Russia and the Middle East.

Technical efficiency (like irrigation scheduling, orchard design, etc.) and strategic planning are important to keep farms going. Included in trends and drivers of change to be accommodated are:

  • South Africa is a water stressed country and there is a need to make optimal use of water and for efficiency in irrigation systems. Choice of cultivar when replacing orchards – even choice of enterprise – increasingly important.
  • Keeping an eye on the ratio between the cost of labour and capital (using mechanical equipment like mechanical platforms can help here).
  • The exchange rate plays a vital role in the profitability of farming
  • National and international food safety and environmental legislation and regulations, local and international standards like GLOBALG.A.P. all need to be adhered to.
  • It is important to improve the quality of human capital (education and training of farm workers)
  • The political context (land reform policy, BBBEE)
Source: adapted from the past three annual BFAP Baseline Agricultural Outlooks