Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing has expressed their excitement about South African pears that can now be exported to China in a recent press release. In a Plaas TV interview late last year, Roelf Pienaar, managing director of Tru-Cape, discussed Tru-Cape’s enthusiasm about the new opportunities opening in Eastern markets.
With China now open for imports of local pears, he also said they look forward to the opportunities that are likely to open in Thailand for apple exports from South Africa.
In a press release, Pienaar said they “are cautiously optimistic about the positive impact that additional sales to China will have on our growers. We saw good growth in apple sales to China despite a slow start. We expect pears to follow a similar trajectory but within a shorter period.”
According to Tru-Cape, the company was a forerunner in establishing relationships in China and is benefiting from a deeper understanding of the Chinese market and relationships with retailers.
“Even before trade with China was approved, Tru-Cape projected that China could become an important destination for South African pears. I think the benefit of the past few years of exporting apples to China will definitely speed things up as we understand the Chinese market better and have built on existing relationships with certain Chinese retailers,” Pienaar said.
Looking to the past and future
In his interview with Plaas TV, he said the 2020 to 2021 season was one of their best harvest seasons ever. However, they faced one of the toughest market conditions yet. The exchange rate was lower and due to delays caused by the lockdown regulations across the world, there was a low number of containers available for export. Yet, despite these challenges, Pienaar said they had a good year.
He attributed this to the fruit export industry being a numbers game. Thus, the greater fruit volumes you trade in, the greater the possibility of absorbing costs caused by infrastructure issues with containers and shipping costs, for example. He said Tru-Cape is adaptable and could move fruit to different areas when necessary.
According to him, Africa made up half of the company’s fruit export basket in 2021. Western African countries such as Nigeria and Senegal buy 70% or more of Tru-Cape’s Golden Delicious apples. According to Pienaar, European markets, as well as markets in the United Kingdom, also performed well.
In the press release, Tru-Cape stated that although it was still early in the season, the apple and pear crop for 2022 looked good. Pienaar also thinks that pear varieties like Packham’s Triumph and Forelle, along with blush pears like Cheeky are expected to find favour in China.
However, logistical and financial factors such as the availability of ships and shipping containers, inflation that has hit globally, price pressures and worker shortages influence the success of the season. – Ursula Human, AgriOrbt