The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Industry
The fresh fruit and vegetables industry accounts for almost a quarter of total farming revenue in South Africa. The coronavirus pandemic has intensified the demand for fresh fruit and vegetables, and the agricultural sector, as a provider of essential goods, was exempt from lockdown restrictions. Growth in the fresh produce sector was underpinned by demand for fresh and healthy products, and by the higher export prices provided by the weak exchange rate.
Deciduous and citrus fruit have become very high-value crops with many fruit farmers entering the market over the last decade with the aim of exporting. There are more than 130 fruit exporters operating in South Africa. Horticultural exports remain the main contributor to South Africa’s positive agricultural trade balance and fruit has become one of the country’s most lucrative export products. Europe remains the top importing region, accounting for 40% of fruit exports in 2019. In January 2021, the United States government announced the opening of several new ports for the import of citrus products from South Africa.
There has been an increase in the consumption of fresh produce due to the coronavirus pandemic. Among health conscious consumers, demand for ginger, red peppers, blueberries, cauliflower, and lettuce resulted in significant price increases, while low carb diets also resulted in increased demand for replacements such as cauliflower and broccoli. There has been an increase in demand for avocados, which have increased in price following a shortage in 2020.
This report focuses on the fresh fruit and vegetables industry in South Africa and includes comprehensive information on the state and size of the sector, key production areas, production volumes and exports. There is information on major distribution channels such as fresh produce markets and retailers, research and development and information on barriers to entry and competition.