On Tuesday, 22 August 2023, during the official China state visit at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, 11 memorandums of understanding and other agreements were signed by the two countries. This included the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza signing an agreement on sanitary requirements for the export of avocados from South Africa to China. ZZ2 on behalf of Core Fruit and Mission Produce Southern Africa would like to congratulate the South African and Chinese governments on this momentous occasion. Our thanks must also go out to the South African Avocado Growers Association for their untiring work in assisting the government from a technical standpoint to gain access to China. Avocados in South Africa have the potential to create much needed employment in the country thereby also boosting the economy. Now that the Chinese market has been opened, the avocado industry has the opportunity to greatly expand its plantings creating not only direct employment on farms but many down-stream job opportunities. Up until now, due to the oversupply of avocados into Europe mainly by Peru, the South African avocado industry has been reluctant to grow its production base due to a lack of market options. South Africa has the potential to triple its avocado plantings. We have the resources in terms of land, water, people and know-how to reclaim our place as a real force in the worldwide avocado market. We also have decades of experience in long distance shipping. The avocado market in South Africa became stagnant due to lack of market access but we hope that the opening of China and further markets including India and Japan, will provide the necessary momentum the market needs to once again become a major avocado player. South Africa is ideally placed to service the Indo-Pacific region of the world. Most of the world’s population is in this region and the GDP per capita of the region also lends itself well to the consumption of avocados. Avocados are also ideally placed and blend in well into the cuisine of the region. In terms of shipping times from South Africa to China, South Africa is a minimum of 10 days shorter than our biggest competitor Peru. ZZ2, Core Fruit and Mission Produce Southern Africa are ideally placed to take advantage of the opening of the Chinese market. ZZ2 has made substantial investments into a state-of-the-art modern avocado packhouse and into an avocado nursery that can produce in excess of 300,000 trees on both clonal and seeding rootstocks. Core Fruit has the experience and know-how in terms of logistics in exporting fruit (apples, pears and citrus) to China. They have been doing so since this market opened to South African fruit several years ago and have well established relationships with their Chinese counterparts. Mission Produce Southern Africa is also extremely well-placed regarding Mission Produce Inc’s global distribution network and particularly its partner in China, Mr Avocado. Mission and Mr Avocado are the only shippers and receivers in China with one brand from multiple growing countries and have been in partnership since 2017. Mr Avocado has ripening and distribution facilities in China along with its long-standing partners in retail.
Several well-established exporters operate out of South Africa including Allesbeste, Core Fruit, Dole, Halls and The Fruit Farm Group amongst others. We have two of the leading International avocado brands, Westfalia and Mission Produce, operating out of South Africa. Mission is well established in China and Westfalia has a strong presence in India. SA is therefore well placed to service these markets.