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South African avocado sector hampered by over-reliance on one export market

Updated Oct 3, 2022
"If there's one thing that this season has shown us again, it's that we need to access new markets for our avocados as soon as possible," says Bram Snijder, an independent agricultural consultant in Tzaneen, Limpopo Province. "It wasn't a bad year in terms of volumes, but our reliance on a single market is a weakness and makes us vulnerable to challenges in that market."
According to Snijder, the South African industry has long assumed that Europe would remain the most important market and that the US would get enough avocados from Peru to create some sort of balance. However, due to the unexpectedly large avocado harvests in Spain, Israel and Morocco this year, the avocados stayed on the market longer than usual. This caused the avocado market in Europe to reach a huge peak from which it never really recovered. Besides Europe, Russia is the other important market for South Africa. It is the main overseas buyer of the large South African crop of green avocados (Fuerte and Pinkerton) and of small quantities of Hass. However, due to the war in Ukraine, the quantities sold this year were much smaller. "I don't want to say that prices were historically low, but they are certainly lower than in the last five years," said Snijder. "Peru also felt the effects and as soon as they could, they withdrew from Europe. This gave us some relief, but the price ...
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