( USDA )

Exports of apples, pears, and grapes continue to rise from South Africa, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service reported said that South Africa`s production and exports of apples, pears and table grapes continues to grow, mainly because of new orchards coming into full production and the transition of some wine grape areas to table grapes.

South African exports of table grapes are expected to increase by 2% to 285,000 metric tons for 2018-19, up from about 279,680 metric tons in the 2017-18.

The European Union is the leading historical export market for South African table grapes, accounting for
78% of table grape exports in the 2017-18,

The report said South African exports of table grapes to the U.S. have jumped substantially over the past few years but still are less than 12,000 metric tons, or less than 5% of South Africa’s total grape exports in 2017-18.

The USDA report said South Africa’s apple exports for 2018-19 are projected to increase by 20% to 540,000 metric tons. The U.S. is expected to import only 50 metric tons or less, limited by higher shipping costs and the challenges of maintaining the right quality and shelf life limit opportunities.

South African pear exports, according to the report, are estimated to increase by 8% in 2018-19 to 240,000 metric tons. Exports to the U.S. are low compared with Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and African markets. South African pear exports to the U.S. typically range between 281 metric tons and 1,200 metric tons, according to the report.