SOUTH AFRICA – Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing, the largest provider of South African apples and pears, is now in its third year of delivering cherries to local and export customers.

With harvest between mid-October and mid-November, the South African cherry season is a short one but, because of its proximity to the Christmas season, it delivers strong returns.

Managing director of Tru-Cape Roelf Pienaar said despite the smaller than expected 2016 crop – down by about half year-on-year – Tru-Cape cherries were of a high quality and achieved good values.

“The smaller crop was as a result of a challenging climate, but despite this Tru-Cape grower’s produced beautiful fruit,” he said.

Cherry varieties Sweetheart, Royal Dawn and Rainier seem to produce the best results in the Ceres valley.

Tru-Cape growers are now looking to the 2017 apple and pear season. Volumes are more or less the same as last year, according to Pienaar.

“While the increasing oil price bolsters our trade in oil-based economies of West Africa and Middle East, the fluctuating rand makes for an interesting season in the rest of our export markets,” said Pienaar.

“Globally there is a lot of uncertainty about the long term impact of the UK leaving the European Union, as well as the political change in the US and the impact on global economies and currencies.

In short, the stability we are all looking for may still be a while away.”

Geo-political issues impact growers and marketers around the globe. Although water remains a key concern, the cooler temperatures when compared to the previous season, will benefit apples and pears.

“We continue to see excellent growth potential on the local market and on the African continent, where Tru-Cape is demanded by name, so we head into 2017 cautiously optimistic,” said Pienaar.

January 24, 2017.