COVID-19 EFFECT: South Africa: Apples and pears industry awaits release of reefer containers from China
The impact of the coronavirus on apples and pears, the most exported fruits at the moment, appears to be minimal. The demand is good and there seems to be no reduction in it. In week 11, apple exports to the UK increased by 177% and those to the Middle East grew by 56%, while exports to East Asia fell by 34%. Cumulatively, at the end of week 11, apple exports to East Asia had increased by 42% compared to 2019. The same is true for pears, whose exports to the UK and Russia increased, while those to East Asia declined by 54%. By the end of the week, exports to all regions had increased compared to last year.
Citrus sales are currently strong and a grower thinks that this is a good way to test the logistics lines. Getting the products onto the shelves of European supermarkets can be a challenge.
The South African citrus sector is anxiously expecting China to free up ports and reefer containers for the industry, as the first large volumes of South African citrus will hit the market in May and June.
South Africa has also taken action. Transport documents are drawn up digitally, many people are working from home and warehouses are enforcing some rules. Schools are closed. For now, the disease has been reasonably well-contained in South Africa.
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