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Positive outlook for South African pear/apple season

Pears and apples already started three weeks ago and the crop looks very good.

Vanguard still sees growth in the apple and pear industry that can be attributed to the replanting of orchards that followed the drought the region had years previously. This, along with the second great winter season, leaves South African growers with a very positive outlook for the 2022 season.

The replantings led to an increase year on year for the past three years. The growth on apples and pears last year was almost 10mm cartons from 53.5mm in 2020 to 63.1mm in 2021. Crop estimate for 2022 is at 67mm cartons.

The four biggest export markets for the 44.73mm cartons of RSA apples exported in 2021 were Far East Asia and Asia, then Africa, UK and the Middle East. These four markets cover 73 percent of apple /pear exports. The biggest varieties for apples are Royal Gala at about 9mm cartons and Golden Delicious around 6mm cartons followed by Pink Lady and Granny Smith.

Of the 18.36mm cartons of pears exported in 2021, the spread was slightly different. The biggest market was Europe, then Far East Asia and Asia. These markets took almost 48 percent followed by Russia and the Middle East taking 37 percent. Packhams Triumph is around 6mm cartons followed by Forelle at around 2mm cartons.

For the 2022 crop, the estimate on apples and pears is 67.3mm, which is a 7 percent growth on total volume.

Apple volumes are expected to grow by 6 percent. The two varieties with the biggest growth are Cripps Pink (Pink Lady) and Cripps Red, which are expected to grow by 9 and 20 percent respectively. The 9 percent growth on Cripps Pink will not be enough to topple Golden Delicious for second place.

There is still some availability on apples from last season including Granny Smith, Gala and Fuji.

Panorama Golden is the first variety into the packinghouse followed by Gala as early as next week. Size and color are similar to last season’s good color. After the Gala, we are expecting Braeburn and Mahana Red in week 13 followed by Fuji in week 14 and Pink Lady in week 15. Fruit set is very good, and the crop outlook is also looking very good, but they are still around 8 weeks away.

On pears, the industry estimates 8 percent growth to 19.83mm cartons this year. Even with some new varieties like Cheeky and Qtee, Packhams remains the biggest variety with another 6 percent increase in volume this year. The season started with early Bon Chretien, Rosemarie and Flamingo, and the market into Europe and the UK is very good. Sizing is similar to last year with pears peaking on count 70/80. The earliest Packhams are underway, with bulk starting on week 6. Sizing is similar to last year peaking on counts 70/60/80.

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