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The South African Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Industry
The South African fresh fruit and vegetable (FFV) industry was valued at R58bn in 2014. The contribution of the horticultural sector to total agricultural production has continued to increase, growing from an 18% average share in the 1980s to 26.6% in 2014. Of the total gross income from horticultural products, citrus fruit accounted for R12.6bn, deciduous fruit for R14.7bn, sub-tropical fruit for R3.5bn and vegetables for R18.4bn. As far as the export market is concerned, total exports were worth R32.7bn in 2014, with fruit exports significantly more important, accounting for R30bn of the total.
Primary agriculture and the agro-processing sector have been identified as a key area of potential growth due to the strong forward and backward linkages to the rest of the economy. Investment in agriculture provides a substantial return per Rand spent and can provide relatively high numbers of jobs. As a result, there are various developmental projects, co-operatives and initiatives aimed at fostering new agricultural enterprises. National fresh produce markets (NFPMs) offer opportunities for individuals and SMMEs to trade with larger players and the adoption of the “Back to Back Co-operative” will develop the ability for emerging farmers, emerging agents and small-scale traders to do business with large companies, making use of vital infrastructure and the latest technologies. South Africa is particularly well-situated to take advantage of the emerging African market as South Africa controls around 90% of the African export market and is one of the largest producers and exporters of fruit in the Southern hemisphere.
This report on the local fresh fruit and vegetable industry examines the various channels of distribution available to producers including national fresh produce markets, retailers, processors and the export market. Statistics regarding the value of horticultural production are provided while factors influencing the success of the industry are outlined.