Status of the pear industry in Africa, with specific reference to South Africa

Ferrandi, C. H. ; Van der Merwe, P. W. ; Huysamer, M. (2005-04)

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In the context of global production, Africa as a continent is a very small producer of Pyrus communis pears, with roughly 3% of global hectares and production. South Africa produces 56% of Africa’s total crop, followed by Algeria (16%), Tunisia (11%), Egypt (9%) and Morocco (8%). With the exception of very small volumes at high elevations in Kenya and Zimbabwe, production is located around 33-35° north and south of the equator. Since the early 1980’s, plantings in South Africa have increased from approximately 7 000 to 13 000 hectares. The main cultivars are ‘Packham’s Triumph’, ‘Bon Chrétien’, ‘Forelle’, ‘Rosemarie’ and ‘Beurre Bosc’. Planting densities have increased from 740 trees per hectare in 1980 to an average of 1 746 trees per hectare in 1995. Roughly 45% of the current orchards are on clonal BP1 and BP3 rootstocks with the remaining, mainly older, orchards on seedling rootstocks. About 38% of the production is packed for export, 44% used for processing (canning and juice) and 18% for local fresh market consumption. Exports have increased from approximately 6 million cartons (12.5 kg) in 1990 to 10 million cartons in 2003. The continental EU accounts for approximately 45% of exports, followed by the United Kingdom (41%), Far East (8%), North America (3%), Middle East (2%) and Africa (1%). The pear industry in South Africa experienced a ‘golden era’ in the early 1990’s, but has since been struggling to maintain profitability, primarily due to exchange rate fluctuations and the overall worldwide market negativity for deciduous fruit.

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