Positive outlook for South African apple and pear industry

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Tru-Cape is redoubling efforts to grow better quality fruit and pack to the agreed standard. (Source: Tru-Cape)
Tru-Cape is redoubling efforts to grow better quality fruit and pack to the agreed standard. (Source: Tru-Cape)
  • South African agriculture has proven itself despite Covid-19, according to the managing director of Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing.
  • The Middle East turned out to be a particularly important market for Tru-Cape.
  • Uncertain market conditions such as the impact of Brexit and tariffs remain.


After a strong finish in 2020 with double-digit growth in apple and pear sales compared to the previous year, Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing, the largest exporter of South African apples and pears, is positive about the year ahead.

While uncertain market conditions such as the impact of Brexit and tariffs remain, and the recent volatility of the rand against the US dollar, euro and Pound Sterling is unhelpful, South African agriculture has proven itself despite Covid-19, according to Tru-Cape managing director Roelf Pienaar.

He says 2020 revenue is a record in Tru-Cape's history.

"The increase was mainly due to the higher volume of fruit, with a larger crop as well as higher export pricing in rand terms for the 2020 financial year," says Pienaar.

The company sells more than 50% of its fruit on the African continent.

"If you keep in mind that, at one stage earlier in 2020, we were down on our African sales compared to the previous year, it is a good achievement to have grown our overall African footprint by year-end. We have also seen good, solid growth in Europe, Russia and the UK," says Pienaar.

"The Middle East turned out to be a particularly important market for Tru-Cape, compared to previous years, and we have seen a solid increase year-on-year. South East Asia remains an important destination for our product. In South Africa and to our immediate neighbours, it is encouraging to note that for the 2020 year, even with Covid-19, and with the borders being closed for a period of time during the year, we still managed to show volume growth on the overall 2019 volume."

The challenges to overcome must, however, not be underestimated.

"Tru-Cape, and the industry as a whole, responded to the early news of Covid-19 in March 2020, during the peak picking and packing season, with speed and agility and we, and many other businesses, restructured to allow us to continue working remotely. Our logistics team and partner company LINK Supply Chain Management successfully managed the many issues in South African ports and global delays in shipping," says Pienaar.

"We must not forget how we all succeeded in 2020 against the odds. And, in 2021 we are redoubling efforts to grow better quality fruit and pack to the agreed standard."

* Compiled by Carin Smith

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