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Strong Tru-Cape harvest tempered by currency fluctuations

With all Tru-Cape apple and pear trees picked, the company, the largest marketer of South African POME fruit, says that despite challenges in terms of fruit size and quality, overall it has been a busy and successful harvest and that Tru-Cape is happy with way the year is panning out.

“Sales into the UK started slower this year as a result of UK supermarkets’ Buy British campaigns but, hopefully, we will be able to continue later than normal, which should even it out. The smaller fruit, primarily as a result of high summer temperatures, has found a home and satisfying values despite concerns that it wouldn’t,” says Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing MD, Roelf Pienaar.

According to Pienaar, now that the oil price has broken the 50 US dollar mark a barrel, exports into Africa, especially Nigeria, are starting to recover.

“Golden Delicious remains the top selling apple variety in West Africa and it is more apparent than ever that we should have ample volumes in the market before the start of the Ramadan period.”

Although there are no immediate alarm bells with regard to Britain leaving the European Union, it has impacted the foreign exchange rate, with the Rand strengthening against the Pound.

“Any gains as a result of a weaker Rand in the first part of the season are short term as our input costs are in dollars. We don’t have a view about where the Rand should be pegged but do need currency stability, whatever the level, although with local government elections on the horizon in August this year, it is unlikely the currency will stabilise much and we can all expect some volatility. We also know from previous years that there are often factional flareups and protest action in the run up to an election. We hope that short-term political point scoring won’t impact the Western Cape agricultural industry which contributes more than R6 billion to the economy each year. We take our job of selling our fruit very seriously and know that over 15, 200 people and their families rely on our ability to secure the best prices for South African apples and pears for their livelihoods.” he ends.

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