Article by: Hari Yellina
Since 1997, Down South, a company based in Stellenbosch, has been exporting fruit from South Africa, primarily citrus with a balance of apples, pears, and grapes. They ship Valencias (MidKnights and Cambrias) (right) from their growers in Limpopo and the Gamtoos Valley in the Eastern Cape to a variety of markets, from Canada and the Middle East to South East Asia (Bangladesh and Malaysia) and the Far East. According to SP Ferreira, a business specialist at Down South, the price of oranges in China appears to be on the rise.
Due to shipment problems, the Valencia season last year started much later than expected. “We hope that won’t happen again this year. The first or second week of October is when we’d like to wrap things up, he says. Despite hefty import tariffs on imported oranges, Frederick Ferreira, managing director at Down South, asserts that “India is a very competitive market when compared to other markets.” “We’ve spoken with buyers in India a few times, and they’re quite eager to help South Africa’s exports develop. In the foreseeable future, we anticipate yearly growth that is significant. Of all the markets where we presently operate, I believe this one will likely have the greatest growth. Their late mandarins (Tangos and Nadorcotts) primarily travel to Canada, Mauritius, the Far East (China, Malaysia), and their UK programmes. The final shipments of Novas were in progress, and Russia was a successful market.
As its lemon exports to Europe come to an end, the company will continue its retail initiatives in the Middle East, Canada, Malaysia, and the UK. Down South has also sold lemons to China, where they have been able to do so since last year thanks to more benevolent shipping regulations. Space issues already exist when shipping fruit to the Far East, and this year’s added demand from the new European protocol for oranges will contribute to traffic jams and delays in Durban and Port Elizabeth, according to Frederick. In order to export citrus fruit to China especially, one of their producers in Patensie built sterilising chambers a few years ago. This season, they will be able to precool the fruit for Europe as a result. The point made by SP is that “we can do it all under one roof, from sorting to chilling.” “In this way, we guarantee superior product quality for all of our customers.” He says, “We take a conservative stance. “Realizability is crucial in these circumstances. To keep things under control, you need to make sure that the products have the necessary payment security.