Papaya production in the Mpumalanga region of South Africa has just past the peak production period. The drought and high temperatures have had an influence on the volumes and quality.
“We had a bit less volume due to the drought and a few quality issues,” explains Lean van Schalkwyk from Neofresh, the main supplier of Papaya to the South African retail market. “We still had decent volumes though, on par with last year.”
The annual volume should be pretty much in line with the previous season, and if it hadn’t been for the drought, the volumes would have been higher, according to Lean.
Neofresh has an external grower, Carthage Limitada in Mozambique, exclusively supplying them. They will produce commercial volumes of Papaya for the first time early next year. “It is going very well and the first fruit should be harvested around January. Carthage is busy building the packhouse and getting everything in place for the start of the season,” said Lean.
Neofresh has a year round supply of Papaya, but there are peaks and troughs at certain times and supplies from Mozambique will help when there are dips in the South African supply.
Farming in Mozambiques is not really cheaper compared to farming in South Africa as you also have to take into account the additional costs of producing in a different country, some of which are extra logistical and establishment costs, according to Lean.
Papino and Neo Essence are the company’s two main varieties, but they are busy conducting trials with other cultivars to see how they perform.
“The Papino and Neo Essence have a very good reputation in the markets with good shelf life and very good eating quality. They are doing very well.”
Papaya is still an exotic fruit, not a mainstream product, but this is changing to a degree according to Lean. “We are exporting weekly between the UK and Middle East. We are also looking to see if we can do it via seafrieght in the future which would reduce our costs, but at the moment the journey is just too long. We are looking at different post harvest and packing technologies.”
For more information: Lean van Schalkwyk
Source: Fresh Plaza