The South Africa Avocado Growers Association (Saaga) has been pushing to have the regulations to resolve a sanitary issue that has seen Tanzania’s Hass and Fuerte avocado exports to South Africa confiscated at the Beit Bridge border crossing because of a pest infestation scare.
South African avocado importers say they seek hard, green, and undamaged fruits that pass sanitary classification and expect Tanzanian produce to be available in the market by December. Tanzanian avocados fill the production vacuum caused by the geographically low harvesting period in South Africa that falls between December and March.
Saaga’s Derek Donkin said: “South Africa and Tanzania being members of the World Trade Organisation and International Plant Protection Convention are engaged in the phytosanitary issues as trade partners according to the rights and obligations of the international trade organisations.
Tanzania is also a member of the SADC regional trading bloc.”
Prices of the Hass type of avocado rose by 129 per cent recently with the average national price of a single Hass avocado reaching $2.10 in 2019, almost doubling in just a year.
Pricing and distance
However, low prices this year come from a surge in the number of avocados grown.
This is likely to continue as more growers switch to the fruit.
The varieties grown in Tanzania include Hass, Fuerte, Pinkerton and to some extent, Puebla.
East African avocados are preferred to those sourced from South America because of the short shipment time, which ensures freshness.
Plus, they are cheaper.