The advantage of the cold treatment of the products in transit is that better quality and fresher fruit arrive at the destination country.
South African apple and pear exporters are eyeing expansion in the Indian market following the recent approval of in-transit cold treatment of the fruit arriving from SA.
Reggie Ngcobo, spokesperson of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, says in 2021 SA exported a combined total of 2.28 million cartons (12.5kg) of apples and pears to India and to date this year 2.7 million cartons.
“Although India is still a relatively small market for us, we are excited about the prospects of growing our footprint, as India has a population of close to 1.3 billion people. This is definitely a step in the right direction to aggressively grow this market,” says Pienaar.
Roelf Pienaar of Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing, SA’s largest exporter of apples and pears, says the in-transit cold treatment procedure reduces transit time considerably.
The change involved going from a land-based to an on-board sterilisation process will free up at least two to three weeks, which is crucial in ensuring the quality of the product upon arrival.
Because cold treatment of the products in transit means better quality and fresher fruit arrive at the destination country, shippers can increase the length of the season in which consumers can get fresher fruit, says Jacques du Preez, general manager of industry body Hortgro.
“South African apples and pears have received a phenomenal response from Indian consumers, and we believe the volume will rise significantly due to this [approval by the Indian government].”
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