Find the information on the canning process on The “educational information” option at is also very informative.

Canning and preserving fruit and vegetables holds numerous advantages for human beings and food security.

  • Food is placed in the airtight container and cooked during the canning process, which safeguards the food from decay. No preservatives are needed.
  • The transport and storage of food is easier. Food can be stored for long periods of time without needing refrigeration.
  • Products such as peaches, pears and apricots are also available now throughout the year.
  • The food is quickly and easily served.

Read the story of how canned products found aboard a 100 year old shipwreck were still safe to eat at Recipes and other information are also available.

International business environment

Greece, the USA, Spain and China are major role players in processed fruit products in the northern hemisphere. They are joined by Chile, Argentina and South Africa in the south.

South Africa: imports and exports

The industry is export orientated. Approximately 85% of the industry’s canned and aseptic deciduous fruit products – namely peaches, apricots, pears, fruit cocktail and pineapples – are destined for export markets in Europe, Far East, North America, South America, Middle East and Africa.
The SA Fruit & Vegetable Canners’ Export Council (SAFVCEC) presentation to the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) – see heading 9 – looks at trade prospects, exports to India and China in particular.

Local business environment

The newsletters at are a good way to stay current with what is happening. Also find information like tree census summaries, cultivars, fruit grading and a season harvest calendar on the website.

The three main sectors of this industry – covering products which are canned, preserved or otherwise processed from fruit, vegetables and tomatoes and other related products – are:

  • Deciduous fruit: based in the Western Cape. Includes products such as canned fruit, fruit in plastic cups, fruit purees, fruit concentrates and jams manufactured from the same raw material base.
  • Pineapples: based in the Eastern Cape. Includes products such as canned pineapples, pineapple purees and concentrates.
  • Tomatoes and vegetables: based in various parts of the country. Includes products such as canned and bottled vegetables, tomatoes, pulps, purees, pastes, sauces, spreads and condiments.

Raw materials are sourced from around 1 500 farms and about 600 000 tons of fresh fruit, tomatoes and vegetables are processed annually to produce goods with a market value of more than ZAR 5 billion.

Approximately 85% of the industry’s canned and aseptic deciduous fruit products – namely peaches, apricots, pears, fruit cocktail and pineapples – are destined for export markets in Europe, Far East, North America, South America, Middle East and Africa.

The industry is labour-intensive and export-driven.

The 2017/18 season was a tough one for the industry, a combination of the drought, a smaller harvest and fruit size and a strong rand (CFPA, 2018).

The SAFVCEC presentation to the dti in 2015 (see heading 9) provides a thorough overview of this industry.

For the newcomer

  • Developing new farmers is very difficult, as start-up costs are high and the market highly volatile.
  • Canning fruit diversifies market risks, with the canning segment of producers’ farms generating 10% to 50% of income. Most producers are therefore also producing other commodities. At the moment, canning fruit is alleviating the impact of low earnings from other commodities.
  • Be sensitive to what is happening in the market and understand that supply and demand is the only thing that affects prices. Moreover, supply the market with good quality products that comply with market standards.
  • Globally, there’s a growing concern about food safety and producers need to supply the market with guarantees that their produce is safe to eat.

Source: extract from “Opportunities in the Canned Fruit industry”, an article in Farmer’s Weekly, August 23 2016.

As part of the South African Fruit and Vegetable Canning Association PPP initiative (see heading 5), Minister Rob Davies officially opened a new 10-hectare peach orchard in Robertson. The orchard is 70% owned by a group of black women who have an off-take agreement with the Rhodes Food Group. Feedback on this initiative is given in the SAFVCEC report to the dti (see heading 9).

Source: the DTI’s IPAP 2015/16 – 2017/18 document

Rhodes Food Group supports the Constitution Road Wine Growers Company (CRWG) in Robertson in the Western Cape. In 2013 it provided an interest free loan of R1.45m, which was used to establish 11ha of apricot and 9.5ha of peach orchards. The fruit is sold back to Rhodes Food Group and used in its products. Phase Two of the project saw the CRWG take possession of a fully-operational fruit handling depot, a great convenience to farmers.

Find the “Rhodes Food’s land reform bears fruit” (Bizcommunity) and “Rhodes Food Group unveils depot” (Food Review) articles at and respectively.

National strategy and government contact

Processing and value add in agriculture is recognised by government as an important contributor towards job creation and poverty alleviation in South Africa. Accordingly, the sector currently enjoys the support of the Department of Trade & Industry to promote its products in global markets. “Fruits and vegetables” is one of the areas identified by APAP (Agricultural Policy Action Plan) as holding enormous potential in the country’s achieving the goals set out in the National Development Plan (NDP).

The Public Private Partnership Fruit Canning Initiative between SAFVCA and the dti was intended to “create a sustainable platform for the long-term growth and competitiveness of the industry”. The PPP is aligned with the National Development Plan (NDP 2030), the Industrial Policy Action Plans (IPAPs) and the Integrated National Export Strategy (INES).

  • Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) Directorate: Food Safety and Quality Assurance Tel: 012 319 6049 matlous [at]
  • Impumelelo Agribusiness Solutions Tel: 079 162 8103 DAFF has appointed Impumelelo Agribusiness Solutions to perform inspection services

Associations involved

  • SA Fruit and Vegetable Canners’ Association (SAFVCA) Tel: 021 871 1308/9,  The association is a voluntary grouping of fruit and vegetable canning/processing industry members. Its focus is the general manufacturing interests of this industry.
  • SA Fruit & Vegetable Canners’ Export Council (SAFVCEC) Tel: 021 871 1308/9 SAFVCEC operates in association with its sister organisation, the South African Fruit and Vegetable Canners’ Association (SAFVCA). Its focus is export promotion and development.
  • Canning Fruit Producers’ Association (CFPA) Tel: 021 872 1401 inmaak [at],  The CFPA is a voluntary association of canning fruit farmers in the Western- and Eastern Cape regions. The Association aims to serve the apricot, pear and peach growers and act on their behalf. They offer the services of: (i) grading regulations relating to the grading of fresh apricots, clingstone peaches and pears intended for processing in a factory (ii) setting spraying recommendations for maximum residue limits (iii) the handling of samples for residue analysis (iv) plant improvement

See also the “Fruit juices” and various fruit chapters.

Training and research

  • ARC-Infruitec/Nietvoorbij Tel: 021 809 3100/35 Training courses are given in: (i) fruit beverage workshops (including hands-on practical sessions) (ii) post-harvest handling of fresh fruit (iii) any other courses relevant to canning and jam production, provided there is sufficient demand. Evaluation is done on new fruit cultivars for the canning and drying industry.
  • Canning companies provide learnerships and do HACCP training for their staff. Companies involved also do research – investigating new products and varieties.
  • Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Food Technology Tel: 021 959 6236
  • FoodBev SETA Tel: 011 253 7300 This is the Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) responsible for facilitating education and training in the food and beverages manufacturing sector.
  • Hortgro Science Tel: 021 882 8470
  • SAPO Trust Tel: 021 887 6823 A specialist plant improvement organisation
  • Stellenbosch University (SU) Department of Food Science Tel: 021 808 3578 / 81 B.Sc. degree in Food Science (4 year course)
  • SU Department of Horticultural Science Tel: 021 808 4900

Research for the fresh production of canning fruit is contracted to universities, as well as to the ARC-Infruitec/Nietvoorbij


Can Makers

In addition, there are other vegetable canners and pulp/puree processors whose contact details may be obtained from SAFVCEC.

Websites and publications

Visit the role player websites listed earlier in this chapter.

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