Brexit is currently a hot topic and South African fruit exporters are watching closely to see how it might influence the value of the pound, according to Roelf Pienaar, managing director of deciduous fruit marketing body Tru-Cape.
Most of its members’ fruit is grown is in the Western Cape – around Elgin, Grabouw and Ceres – and in the Langkloof in the Southern Cape. Tru-Cape is grower-owned, and profits are ploughed back to them.
In the view of Pienaar, it will be important for SA fruit exporters to have a good strategy in place and good contacts in the various export countries.
He foresees that Tru-Cape exports to Russia could increase, for instance.
At the same time, due to a slowdown in global economic growth, consumers are under pressure and looking for value when buying fruit.
“You must deliver on what you promise. Consumers expect high quality,” Pienaar said at a media briefing.
Tru-Cape exports to 104 countries and Pienaar is proud that about 50% of what it sells is sold in Africa.
Regarding the 2019 crop, he said the drought made an impact in the 2017/2018 season, leading to lower volume. Water is, however, now better than a year ago, but he said it is still early days to try and make an estimate.
“Retailers are looking for good deals and the marketing recipe we have been following, works,” said Pienaar.
“In the UK we will maintain our focus to grow. We are logistically well situated for this. Regarding Europe, we will try to capitalise on European retailers wanting to deal with us in a more direct way.”
There are also opportunities in Asia, for instance in China, in his view.
Furthermore, he says there are “massive opportunities” in Africa, but research is needed and distribution can be challenging.