Fruit and veg prices post good gains during month-end

fruit and veg markets trading
  • The recent seasonal rains and the subsequent further improvement in dam levels in the Western Cape bodes well for the fruit and vegetables produced under both the dryland and irrigation production systems. Overall WC dam levels for the week ended 05 August 2019 reached 61.4% full, which slightly ahead of the 50% achieved during the same week last year. The WC’s largest dam, the Thee Waterskloof,  reached the highest level since 2017 at 66.5% full relative to 41.9% last year.
  • Last week’s trade of fruit and vegetables on major fresh produce markets showed gains across most commodities underpinned by strong demand during month end. The biggest gainers in the vegetable market were cabbages, lettuce, and potatoes with weekly increases of 18.3%, 10.5%, and 10.5% respectively at R2.70/ kg, R11.66/ kg, and R3.55/ kg. Butternuts and onions were however the exception as the sharp increase in volumes of supplies kept prices on the downside. Weekly butternut and onion prices posted weekly losses of 5.2% and 9.3% respectively to close at R4.13/kg and R4.02/ kg. 
  • Except for pears, weekly fruit prices were moderate to sharply higher due to the combination of strong uptake and limited seasonal supplies on markets. Pear prices fell by 3.5% week-on-week (w/w) and just up by 1% year-on-year (y/y) at R35.08/ kg with the corresponding volumes of sales surging by almost 16% w/w 780 tons. Seasonal supply constraints saw mango prices rising by a whopping 20.6% w/w and 30% y/y at R33.44/ kg. They were followed by avocados and grapes with weekly gains of 6.2% and 4.5% respectively at R16.46/ kg and R58.17/ kg. The current avocado and grape prices are 80% and 44% higher relative to the same week last year.
  • The yearly trend  in vegetable prices showed a slight reversal in trend with 57% of the commodities tracked posting moderate to sharp increases y/y. In the case of fruits, the trend remains upwards across most commodities (83%) under review and seems to indicate that the fruit inflation may tick higher in the medium term.
  • Weekly exports: Weekly apple export sales for week 31 increased sharply by 114% relative to the same week last year at 965,065 cartons which brought the year to date cumulative total shipments up 4% y/y to 21.80 million cartons. So far, the Far East Asia, Africa and the UK collectively accounted for the biggest share of 76% of the total exports at 34%, 23%, and 19% respectively.
  • In the pear market, weekly exports advanced by 26% y/y and came in at 271,836 cartons. This brought the cumulative year to date total to 13.51 million cartons but still trailing that of last year by 2%. Major destinations were Europe, the Far East and Asia, the Middle East and Russia which collectively accounted for 87% of the total exports at 34%, 20%,17%, and 17% respectively.
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