Drought hits South Africa’s pip fruit production
A severe drought is currently affecting South Africa’s Western Cape region, which accounts for around 80% of the country’s apple and pear production. The lack of winter rainfall in 2017 and the low dam levels (about 20%) will lead to a shortfall of irrigation water in the 2017/18 MY by as much as 60% and an inevitable loss of fruit production. Indeed, apple production is expected to fall by 11% to 800,000 tons. Besides the drought, these lower volumes are also due to a contraction in production area and fruit damage caused by hail, windstorms and severe sunburn. With lower fruit quality, apple exports are expected to drop by 12% to 485,000 tons. Likewise, pear production in 2017/18 is predicted to be 7% lower (400,000 tons) and exports are expected to fall by 10% to 240,000 MT.