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Very high demand from UK retail for early South African stone fruit

After a month of the new stone fruit season, United Exports looks ahead to a positive season with good yields, despite recent inclement weather in the Western Cape.

United Exports was fortunate to have had no flood damage on any of their grower’s farms, and the proprietary genetics grown under licence from United Exports meant they were able to start production of peaches very early in the north and, in some instances, be first to market.

United Exports executive chairman and founder, Roger Horak, comments: “While these low-chill genetics developed by OZ Peach and Burchell’s, were innovations focused on being able to produce peaches and nectarines in a wider range of production areas with less chill units, they are well placed to be less impacted by the warmer and uncertain weather patterns we are seeing globally brought about by climate change.”

United Exports began exporting their first peaches from the northern part of South Africa – Limpopo – in weeks 38 and 39.

In the Western Cape, the stone fruit season started in week 41 amid challenging weather, which affected the Brix levels that week. But as of week 42, United Exports was able to meet client expectations and export good quality fruit. The demand for peaches and nectarines in the United Kingdom is very high; United Exports’ focus lies here at present, and they supply most retailers.

The season ahead

Peach yields are expected to be similar to last season, and the company anticipates an increase in nectarine yields with new orchards coming into production.

Plum crops (starting in weeks 45 and 46) are expected to be similar to last season. A yield increase, thanks to new orchards, will offset the impact of continuous heavy rain during flowering and pollination.

The apricot crop is expected to be slightly lower than last year, primarily due to the effect of the adverse weather.

Continuous improvement in packaging

A plastic packaging tax has been introduced in the United Kingdom for packaging not adhering to the required specifications set by the United Kingdom regulators; this aligns with United Exports’ aim to minimise plastic as far as possible.

The company is working on innovative solutions and continuous improvements to maintain fruit quality while saving costs.

Established in 2002, United Exports is a global agricultural company, specialising in stone fruit and blueberries, and committed to exceeding expectations in product quality and customer experience.

United Exports is vertically integrated, growing, pack, shipping, purchasing, marketing and selling produce, as well as licensing growers to produce OZblu® blueberries.


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