The Western Cape is still coming out of the worst drought it has experienced in 300 years. Rainfall has been lower than the average for three consecutive years and throughout 2017 and 2018 there was fear that Cape Town would see the arrival of Day Zero, the day when the city’s municipal water supply would run out and the taps would run dry.
After 2017 saw a poor avocado harvest due to drought, 2018 proved a bumper year as many avocado trees in areas in which the drought broke bore record volumes of fruit. The result was that a 63% increase in avocado production was recorded over the course of the year, resulting in potential export shipments of 16.
The perception that fresh produce is healthier than chilled and processed fruits and vegetables contributed to the strong total volume growth seen in sales of fruits in 2018. In addition, with unit prices of processed fruits and vegetables rising, increasing numbers of consumers are encouraged to shift towards fresh products.
Citrus categories saw different sales performances in 2018, with some continuing to experience difficulties due to unfavourable harvests during 2017 and 2018, while others benefited from strong increases in production. Grapefruit/pomelo saw static growth as declining production led to a tighter supply and higher prices, while lemon and limes experienced a positive performance due to a remarkable increase in production during 2017/2018, the result of an increase in the amount of land under cultivation and favourable weather conditions in many parts of the country.
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