Dec 13, 2018: After recent bilateral trade negotiations between the two countries, China in turn would be looking at sending citrus exports to South Africa. South Africa’s fruit export sector is on the verge of adding pears to the list of produce it will be shipping east.

“In addition, there is a sense of renewed urgency for China to then move to our avocados because it is a crop they want,” said Konani Liphadzi, CEO Fruit SA, an umbrella body of SA fruit industry.

Liphadzi emphasised that past impediments to increasing exports of South African fruit to our biggest trade partner had been overcome by the recent trade visit to Beijing. Chinese delegates also recently visited South Africa for talks with officials from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Daff).

“The vibe that we got from the China is that they are prioritising our issues and I hope that in 2019 access for pears will be granted,” she said.

The recent change in government has brought an increased appreciation of the value of the fruit sector for the South African economy. Continuing her view she opined that the non-tariff barriers for South African citrus exported to the EU, such as citrus black spot regulations, had placed significant restriction-related revenue strain on exports to Europe. “This shows the need to diversify away from a reliance on the European market”.

The new dispensation has happened due to the concerted efforts of Daff, the Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB) and Citrus Research International (CRI).

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