Fruits are edible products of a tree or other plant that contains seed and can be eaten as food. They are also known as an important source of vitamins and carbohydrates. The cultivation of fruits differs considerably in different places owing to physical properties of land, climate, rainfall, temperature, sunlight, cultural practices of the inhabitants, etc.
South Africa is a wealthy and diverse country consisting of different climatic conditions across the country. The different climatic conditions allow production of various fruits which include citrus, deciduous and subtropical fruit.
- Citrus is mainly produced in the irrigation areas of the Limpopo, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern Cape. (Find updates and news at www.cga.co.za).
- Deciduous fruit is grown mainly in the Western Cape, as well as in the Langkloof Valley in the Eastern Cape. Significant table and dried grapes production areas are also along the Orange River and in the Free State, Mpumalanga and Gauteng. (Find the fruit regions map and information at www.hortgro.co.za).
- Subtropical crops such as avocados, mangoes, bananas, litchis, guavas, pawpaws, and granadillas are produced mainly in Mpumalanga and Limpopo, as well as in the subtropical coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. Pineapples are grown in the Eastern Cape and northern KwaZulu-Natal. (Find statistics at www.subtrop.co.za).
|Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, easy peelers and limes||Apples, apricots, pears, grapes (fresh and dried), plums, nectarines, peaches, quinces, cherries, Persimmons, pomegranates and figs||Avocados, bananas, mangoes, litchis, papayas, papinos, granadillas, pineapples, guavas, loquats, melons and kiwi fruit||Sweet and water melons, sour figs, prickly pears, custard apples, jack fruit and medlars|
Note: Opinion is not unanimous regarding the category is which certain fruits like pomegranates are placed.
The fruit industry plays an important role in the agricultural sector through export earnings. It is estimated that about 70% of fruit products are exported to the global market and the remaining proportion is sold in the local market. Some fruits are processed into fruit juice and dry fruit.
International business environment
- The world’s leading importers of fruit are the USA, Germany, Netherlands, UK, Russia, France, China, Canada and Belgium.
- The world’s leading exporters of fruit are the USA, Spain, Chile, Netherlands, China, Italy, Turkey, Belgium, Mexico and South Africa.
Source: DAFF-NAMC International TradeProbe March 2016
The Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP)’s annual Baseline, which evaluates the performance of different South African fruit on the global market, gives a good impression of global conditions as pertains to the fruit industry. Find it at www.bfap.co.za.
South Africa: imports and exports
Find information on exporting fruit and the Exporters Directory at www.fpefsa.co.za, website of the Fresh Produce Exporters Forum (FPEF).
- A few hundred exporters sell South African fruit abroad. South African products compete against international role players, and in some cases against each other. The various industries, i.e. citrus, table grapes etc. have established industry representative bodies which look after the interest of producers and exporters, in order to optimise and co-ordinate export volumes to specific markets.
- The exporting of fruit is subject to compliance with certain quality requirements and obtaining a Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB) export certificate. The PPECB is the official certification agency that ensures quality in the supply chain. It offers inspection services, logistical services, food safety auditing and certification services. Visit www.ppecb.com.
- The Directorate: Food Import and Export Standards at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) can be contacted at 012 319 6118.
Local business environment
Technical information and overviews are available on role player websites listed in this chapter. Visit https://fpef.co.za for example. The reader should also refer to the “Economic analyses” and “Statistical information” publications under “Branches” and “Administration” at www.daff.gov.za. See also the annual BFAP Baseline which evaluates the performance of different South African fruit at www.bfap.co.za.
- South Africa is globally known for being a net exporter of citrus, deciduous and subtropical fruits.
- Fruit is (i) exported (more than 50% of all agricultural exports from South Africa are fresh fruit) (ii) supplied to the local market, traded at wholesalers, formal municipal and metropolitan markets; (iii) supplied to processing plants for production of fruit concentrate, fruit juices and canned fruit; (iv) processed into dried fruits for both local and export markets.
- Although there are some good news stories (see heading 4), integrating smallholder farmers who can benefit from export opportunities remains a challenge.
- South Africa produces about 4.7 million tonnes of fruit each year, mostly in the Western Cape. About 60% is exported and 12% consumed locally, while 28% is processed.
- The fruit industry is a vital earner of foreign exchange. It contributes about R30bn to the SA economy and supplies about 190 000 jobs.
Source: DAFF’s Agricultural Policy Action Plan 2015-2019; Dr Konanani Liphadzi (Fruit SA) at www.fin24.com/Economy/govts-black-farmer-strategy-did-not-bring-results-expected-ceo-20170306.
The Agri Processing Index (API) developed by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture ranks the potential of some 130 different products, measuring employment potential, production performance and global market growth. Flavoured wine and other alcoholic beverages derived from fruit appeared at number four on the Top 20 products list, showing the potential of backing this product. The table was featured in a previous BFAP Baseline Agricultural Outlook (2015-2024).
Emerging farmer news
Refer to this heading in the other fruit chapters.
- The Top of the Class (TOC) programme is a SETA-accredited opportunity for previously disadvantaged students to be exposed to the entire fresh fruit value chain.
- The Leadership & Mentoring (L&M) programme pairs employees with leadership potential with the person to whom they report in the workplace. Amongst the objectives of L&M is the transformation of the leadership profile in the business.
An interesting example of entrepreneurship on a fruit farm can be found at http://fruitlips.co.za. FruitLips processes fruit not exported, manufacturing jams, marmalades, chutneys etc. This offers jobs to “more than fifteen families”.
The Post-Harvest Innovation Programme is a project to create more success stories of smallholder farmers exporting. It is a public-private partnership between the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Fresh Produce Exporters Forum (FPEF), with the FPEF as the implementing agent. Read more at www.postharvestinnovation.org.za.
Skills For Africa is a focused skills training company dedicated to the upliftment of previously disadvantaged rural communities and the improvement of task level productivity in chosen industries. Find their details – as well as those of other providers – under the “Training and research” heading.
The goal of the Sustainability Initiative of South Africa (SIZA) programme is to continually improve labour conditions on all farms in a practical and comprehensive manner, which has the potential to benefit businesses and impact positively on hundreds of thousands of employees. Read more at www.siza.co.za.
Witzenburg PALS initiative http://bit.ly/2bF4l97
Exporting fruit from the Western Cape Province of South Africa to markets in Europe, North America and Asia contributes significantly to the province’s Gross Domestic Product. The main export producers are large-scale farmers. Even with the change in discriminatory legislation and practices in South Africa after 1994, few emerging farmers have entered this market. This is due to:
- The historical political inequalities faced by the predominantly coloured and black emerging farmers, in particular the lack of access to agricultural resources and inputs, because legislation used to exclude them from mainstream commercial farming;
- The subsequent inability of emerging farmers to produce the volumes and, at times, the quality required for export;
- The significant influence of economies of scale, making it almost impossible for emerging farmers to achieve a significant profit. Input pricing and transport cost eventually impact on the final price of the products grown.
- Commercial farming is a highly technical operation, and but it in fact also a financial and managerial exercise. Most emerging farmers need to be brought up to speed on all three these skills.
The few smallholders who manage to export their fruit do so through collective or individual arrangements with large-scale commercial operations. Effective agricultural extension and research requires officials and agents to not only work with farmers but to go beyond individuals and village groupings to look at the significance of broader linkages and the role these play in agricultural production and development. Where appropriate they should seriously consider strengthening farmers’ networks and innovations, rather than ignoring or replacing these.
Contact Tim Hart at thart [at] hsrc.ac.za.
National strategy and government contact
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)
- Find information and further contact details on the different directorates under the “Branches” menu option at www.daff.gov.za.
- Successful fruit exports depend on compliance with the requirements of target markets, and compliance begins in the orchard. Find the relevant export protocols on the Directorate Plant Health pages. The contact number for the Directorate: Food Import and Export Standards is 012 319 6118.
- The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti)‘s Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) 2018/19 – 2020/21 features fruit export development in the Key Action Programmes. The intention is to accelerate export growth and develop value-added/processed products in both new and existing markets. Find the document at www.thedti.gov.za.
- DAFF’s Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP) is based on the model of the Industrial Policy Action Plans (IPAPs). It also defines itself in relation to both the National Development Plan (NDP) and the New Growth Path (NGP). Two national outcomes that it seeks to strengthen are: (i) Decent Employment through Inclusive Growth (ii) Comprehensive Rural Development and Food Security. The section on fruit sets out the constraints of this sector as well as a strategy for its growth.
Agricultural Produce Agents Council (APAC) www.apacweb.org.za APAC regulates the occupation of fresh produce agents.
Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB) www.ppecb.com Contact details for the PPECB regional offices can be found on the website.
National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) www.namc.co.za The statutory levies for producers are implemented through the NAMC.
Department of Science and Technology (DST) www.dst.gov.za The DST has been involved in the Post-Harvest Innovation Programme, addressing technology gaps across the chain – from harvest to home. Visit www.postharvestinnovation.org.za.
Fruit South Africa (FSA) is a non-profit organisation formed to address common issues affecting member organisations in the South African fruit industry. See www.fruitsa.co.za. The members of FSA are:
- Citrus Growers Association (CGA) Tel: 031 765 2514 www.cga.co.za
- Fresh Produce Exporters’ Forum (FPEF) Tel: 021 526 0474 https://fpef.co.za
- HORTGRO Tel: 021 870 2900 www.hortgro.co.za
- SA Subtropical Growers’ Association (Subtrop) Tel: 015 307 3676 / 7 www.subtrop.co.za
- SA Table Grapes (SATI) Tel: 021 863 0366 www.satgi.co.za
HORTGRO represents industry bodies like the South African Apple and Pear Producers’ Association (SAAPPA) and the South African Stone Fruit Producers’ Association (SASPA). Subtrop represents the SA Avocado Growers’ Association (www.avocado.co.za), the SA Mango Grower’s Association (www.mango.co.za), the SA Macadamia Growers’ Association (www.samac.org.za) and the SA Litchi Growers’ Association (www.litchisa.co.za).
- Fresh Produce Importers Association Tel: 012 331 5341 www.fpia.co.za
- Pomegranate Association of South Africa (POMASA) Tel: 021 870 2900 www.sapomegranate.co.za
- South African Berry Producers Association Tel: 021 870 2900
- Tomato Producer’s Organisation (TPO) – refer to the vegetables chapter (with apologies to some for the category decision!)
Training and research
The Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP) identifies technologies as a vital element in growing the whole horticultural sector. The development of new technologies “requires a well-functioning research system.” New technologies include the breeding of new varieties/cultivars, control of pests and diseases and water conservation technologies, amongst others.
Learnerships and apprenticeships are a combination of on-the-job learning along with some theoretical training. The major part of the training can be offered on the farm. Find information on learnerships in the “Agricultural education & training” chapter, or at www.agriseta.co.za (under “Skills delivery” option).
- The ARC’s Horticultural Business Division consists of the following: (i) ARC-Tropical and Subtropical Crops Tel: 013 753 7000 (ii) ARC-Infruitec/Nietvoorbij Tel: 021 809 3100. The ARC Institutes conduct research and training. Visit www.arc.agric.za for more information.
- Cape Women’s Forum – see Philani Training and Development Solutions
- Citrus Academy Tel: 031 765 3410 / 2 www.citrusacademy.co.za
- Elgin Learning Foundation Tel: 021 848 9413
- Koue Bokkeveld Opleidingsentrum Tel: 023 317 0983 / 0588 www.kbos.co.za
- Philani Training and Development Solutions Tel: 021 883 2490 www.philani.co.za
- Praktika Tel: 022 913 2933 www.praktika.co.za
- SA AgriAcademy Tel: 021 880 1277 www.agriacademy.co.za
- SAPO Trust Tel: 021 887 6823 www.saplant.co.za
- Skills for Africa Tel: 012 379 4920 www.skillsafrica.co.za Contacts in all provinces can be found on the website.
- Other AgriSETA accredited groups also do training in fruit e.g. Skills for All include bananas, citrus, vines and more in their training programme. Fruit production is involved in the diplomas training at the Agricultural Colleges. Various short courses are also offered e.g. Cedara runs peach processing, vegetable and fruit drying, and jam manufacturing short courses, whilst Elsenburg conducts management and horticultural diploma courses over a 2-3 year period.
Find details of AgriSETA-accredited companies, agricultural colleges, universities and other training providers in the “Agricultural education and training” chapter.
Companies: growers and exporters
- 4U2DO Tel: 021 987 0915
- Alliance Fruit 083 642 8089 www.alliancefruit.co.za
- AMC Fruit SA 021 851 1234 www.munoz.co.za and www.amcgrupo.eu
- AS Viljoen & Seuns Boerdery 023 354 8713 www.asvfarms.co.za
- Banhoek Marketing 021 885 2635 www.banhoekfruit.co.za
- Berryworld SA Tel: 021 808 6641 www.berryworld.com
- Bet-El Fruits 021 863 3146
- Betko Varsprodukte Tel: 028 840 8100
- Bonaire Fruits 021 876 2250
- Bonfrut 082 920 5023 www.bonfrut.co.za
- Bono Farm Management 021 657 4000 www.bonoholdings.co.za
- Boschkrans Boerdery 013 262 3481 www.boschkrans.com
- Cape Citrus 021 979 4800
- Cape Five Export 021 850 4640 www.capefive.com
- Capespan 021 917 2600 www.capespan.co.za
- ClemenGold 021 880 7033 www.clemengold.com
- Corefruit 021 863 6300
- Creation Fruit 028 314 0035
- De Keur Marketing Tel: 023 315 5605 www.dekeur.co.za
- Delecta Fruit 021 860 3999 www.delecta.co.za
- Denau Boerdery 023 357 9727 www.denau.co.za
- DKI Fruit Marketing 021 855 4888 http://dkifruit.co.za
- Dole SA 021 983 3600 http://dolesa.co.za
- Dutoit Group 023 312 1071 www.dutoit.com
- ELE Trading 021 976 0604 http://eletrading.co.za
- Emex International 021 554 0522 www.emexintl.com
- EPIC Fruit Exporters Tel: 023 626 4330 www.epicfruit.co.za
- Everseason 022 921 3444 www.everseason.co.za
- EXSA 021 914 8280 www.exsa.com
- Favourite Fresh Export 021 880 6626 www.ffesa.co.za
- Franschhoek Marketing 021 876 3141 www.freshnessfirst.co.za
- Freshgold SA Exports 021 555 1966 www.freshgoldsa.co.za
- Freshgro Citrus Growers 042 232 0349 www.freshgro.co.za
- Freshworld 021 808 7100 www.freshworld.co.za
- FruitOne 021 883 3447 www.fruitone.com
- Fruits Unlimited 021 860 1800 www.fruits.co.za
- Fruitways Marketing 021 851 9744 / 2 www.fruitways.com
- Fruitworks 021 872 8327 www.fruitworks.co.za
- FVC International 021 505 5960 www.fvci.co.za
- Global Pacific Produce SA 021 202 8085
- Goede Hoop Vrugte 023 315 5293 www.ghfruit.co.za
- Goldee Trading 2 011 848 9950
- Grape Alliance Marketing 023 354 8152 www.grapealliance.co.za
- Green Marketing 021 874 1055 www.gmint.co.za
- Groep 91 Uitvoer 015 345 1671
- Grown4U 042 230 0760 www.grown4u.co.za
- GS Schoonbee Landgoed 013 262 4000 www.schoonbee.co.za
- Hendri Pieterse Boerdery 082 387 3901 www.hnpieterse.co.za
- Hoekstra 021 869 8567 www.hoekstraexport.co.za
- Idea Fruit 021 851 0126 www.ideafruit.co.za
- Impala Citrus www.impalacitrus.co.za
- In2Fresh 012 482 6656 www.in2fresh.co.za
- In2Fruit 021 874 1055
- In Season Marketing 021 943 5960 www.inseason.co.za
- Joe-Rie Products 042 293 0452
- Karpus Exports 011 483 3360 www.karpussa.com
- Kat River Citrus (KATCO) 046 645 1134
- Katlego Sitrus Tel: 012 819 1121 www.katlego.co.za
- Komati Fruits 013 007 0308
- Kromco 021 850 6700 www.kromco.co.za
- Laeveld Sitrus 015 345 1610
- Le Roux Group 021 864 1967 www.lerouxgroup.co.za
- Letaba 015 304 4006 www.letaba.com
- Lona Citrus 021 481 8200 www.lona.co.za
- Mahela Boerdery 015 345 1600 www.mahela.co.za
- Makutangi Farming 015 968 9505
- Market Demand Fruits 021 874 2028 www.marketdemandfruits.co.za
- Mouton Citrus 022 921 3405 www.moutoncitrus.co.za
- New Vision Fruit 021 970 5120 www.karsten.co.za
- Niche Fruit 021 945 1390 www.suiderlandplase.co.za
- Orex Export 054 431 6100 www.orexexport.com
- Patensie Citrus 042 283 0303 www.patensiecitrus.co.za
- Piet Engelbrecht Trust Tel: 082 561 7906 www.citrus-exporters.co.za
- Pips Fruit Tel: 021 863 1182/021 807 5000 https://pipsfruit.co.za/
- Pitto 054 431 0302 www.pitto.co.za
- Pomona Fruit 023 626 1890
- Rainbow Produce Company 021 874 1055
- RSA International Tel: 021 532 1300 www.rsa.co.za
- SAFE Farm Ventures 021 657 4000 www.safe.co.za
- SAFPRO 041 581 0886 www.safpro.net
- Samapro 044 533 0201 www.samapro.co.za
- San Miguel Fruit SA 041 368 9015 www.sa-sanmiguel.com
- SAPEX Exports 021 883 8280 www.sapex.co.za
- Seven Seas 021 851 2098 www.sevenseasfruit.com
- Sinogold 021 674 5395 www.sinogold.co.za
- Siyazama Boerdery 023 356 3328
- Siyehlula Farms 042 272 1345
- Southern Cross 021 883 2408 www.southerncrossmm.co.za
- Southern Fruit Growers 021 852 4012 www.southernfruit.co.za
- Southern Fruit Trading Tel: 021 914 9352 www.southernfruittrading.co.za
- SRCC Marketing 042 233 0320 www.srcc.co.za
- Star South Fruits Tel: 021 864 3655 www.starsouth.co.za
- Stargrow Fruit Marketing 021 880 1882 www.stargrow.co.za
- Stems Fruit 021 860 3400 www.stemsfruit.co.za
- Suiderland Plase 021 945 1390 www.suiderlandplase.co.za
- Swellenfruit Packing 028 512 3440 www.swellenfruit.com
- T & G http://tandg.global/
- The Fruit Farm Group Tel: 021 880 1707 www.thefruitfarmgroup.com
- The Grape Company 021 860 3400 www.thegrapeco.co.za
- Triple D Farms 054 431 1568
- Tru-Cape Fruit 021 850 1800/8 www.tru-cape.co.za
- Uitvlugt Farming Trust 021 847 2200
- Unichoice Produce Direct 021 914 5838 www.unichoice.co.za
- Unifrutti 021 851 4075 www.unifrutti.co.za
- Unipack Fruit 023 615 1290
- United Exports 021 851 1618 www.united-exports.com
- Valleyfresh South Africa Tel: 021 492 3955 www.valleyfresh.com.au
- Van Doorn 021 914 8618 www.vandoornsa.co.za
- Vanguard International 083 680 5156 www.vanguardteam.com
- Veganix 021 945 1390 www.suiderlandplase.co.za
- WP Fresh Distributors 028 841 4313 www.wpfresh.co.za
- X-Treme International 015 306 6260 www.thexgroup.co.za
- Zest Fruit 021 888 9100 www.zestfruit.co.za
Other role players
- ABSI – Agribusiness Systems International www.absi.co.za
- Agrihub www.agrihub.co.za Agri-Hub supplies non-competitive information to the fruit industry.
- Agrisort Products Tel: 021 981 7062 http://agrisort.com Fruit sorting technologies
- Citricom IP Tel: 021 887 2909 www.citricom.co.za Intellectual property services
- CitroGold www.citrogold.co.za A platform for plant breeders to commercialise new varieties
- Culdevco www.culdevco.co.za A joint venture between the ARC and the deciduous fruit industry
- DFM Technologies https://dfmtechnologies.co.za Recent years have seen the agricultural market change drastically. From water acts, labour relations to getting your produce accepted overseas, file upon file of information needs to be kept and hours spent in keeping it up to date. For many it has become a full time occupation. Software exists to make this task easier and less time consuming.
- Dryers for Africa www.dryersforafrica.co.za Equipment for the drying and processing of fruit
- GPB Consulting www.consultgpb.co.za
- Goldpack (Pty) Ltd www.goldpack.co.za Packhouse systems
- Hortec www.hortec.co.za Fruit Quality testing laboratory.
- Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) Food, Beverage and Agro-Industries SBU Tel: 011 269 3000 www.idc.co.za As a business unit their role is to focus on investments biased towards job creation, SME development, export generation and regional development. The largest portion of their investment portfolio has been in fruit and nuts industries.
Websites and publications
Visit the websites listed earlier in this chapter.
The Export Directory is a guide to South African fruit exporters and export service providers. It is issued by the Fresh Produce Exporters Forum (FPEF). Read it at https://fpef.co.za.
A number of publications put out by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), to be found at www.daff.gov.za, have relevance to this chapter. These include:
- Several market chain profiles include ones for apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, citrus, litchis, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums and table grapes. Find the profiles under “Annual publications” on the Directorate Marketing’s pages.
- Find the Export Manual SA Fruit document under “Resource Centre”.
- If there is a fruit grown in this country, you will find grower notes under the “InfoPak” and “Brochure” options (also under “Resource Centre”) !
- Statistics on fresh produce markets. Annually this gives an exposition of the mass, value and unit value of the sales of fruit at each of the national fresh produce markets, month by month. Each product is dealt with separately.
- Also find the Trends, Economic Analysis and Statistical Information reports. The latter gives detailed statistics on production, sales on markets, exports and purchases for processing.
Find the latest SA Fruit Trade Flow on www.namc.co.za, website of the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC). The DAFF-NAMC Trade Probe 69 (May 2017) contained a trade profile of South Africa’s fruit industry. Find the document at www.namc.co.za.
SA Fruit Journal The magazine consists of dedicated sections for the three fruit sectors – citrus, deciduous and subtropical – as well as market, industry and research news. Visit www.safj.co.za for more information.
Find the Nation in Conversation overview of the fruit industry (Jan 2017) on YouTube www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqBexzwbJVY
Several deciduous fruits are dealt with in the publication “Fruit and nut production in KZN”, which can be downloaded at www.kzndard.gov.za/resource-centre/guideline-documents
Call 012 842 4000 or email iaeinfo [at] arc.agric.za for the following leaflets, available from the ARC in Silverton:
- Processing of Citrus Fruit (Grapefruit, lemons, oranges)
- Processing of Deciduous fruit (Apples, apricots, grapes, pears, plums, peaches)
- Processing of Olives and Legumes (green peas)
- Processing of Field crops (Chilli, bell peppers, tomatoes)
- Processing of Subtropical Fruit (Avocado, bananas, figs, guava, kiwifruit, litchi, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple).
SA Groente en Vrugte. A magazine, 6 issues a year. Contact 018 293 0622 for more information.
Find global news at www.freshplaza.com.
- Cordes, M. 2018, July 10. “Marketing tips: What happens to fruit after the harvest?” African Farming.com. Available at www.africanfarming.com/marketing-tips-happens-fruit-harvest/
- Branson, A. 2017, September 18. “Drought Tolerant Fruit Tree Plants That Can Grow in Dry Climates”. Wilderners. Available at http://wilderners.com/drought-tolerant-fruit-tree/