SOUTH AFRICA – The Department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) has announced that the ban on the export of Hass avocados from South Africa to Japan has been lifted.

The ban was lifted at the end of November last year, with both nations agreeing on a work plan to ensure the correct implementation of export protocols.

The DALRRD will oversee the approval and registration of all production sites and packing houses, in line with the agreed work plan.

Henceforth, registered growers are required to adhere to good agricultural practices, including orchard sanitation and an effective integrated pest management system.

These measures are crucial for producing avocados in areas free from quarantine pests, a matter of significant concern for South Africa.

 The ban was imposed in response to the detection of false codling moth in a consignment of South African avocados in Japan in 2022.

False codling moth is a pest that can cause significant damage to crop, and its presence in a consignment of avocados could have led to the spread of the pest in Japan. 

According to Reggie Ngcobo, spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), South Africa is a leading global producer and exporter of avocados. 

South African market plays a significant role as demand has grown considerably. The estimated three-year average annual production in South Africa according to the department is 139 400 tons. 45% of the fresh avocados are exported mainly to Europe and the UK.

Most exports are by sea in refrigerated containers and the sector, during peak periods, employs approximately 23 000 casual laborers.

The Statista website reports that the production of avocados in South Africa has been increasing since 2000/01, reaching approximately 114.5 thousand metric tons in 2018/19.

SouthAfrica.co.za states that future production of avocados in South Africa is expected to grow with an additional 1000 ha – 1500 ha to be planted annually for at least the next 5 years from 2019 onwards. 

Exports should exceed 20 million cartons at this rate of growth and will expand if the industry continues to grow.

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