The long-awaited first-ever shipment to China of fresh pears from South Africa went on sale at Jiangnonghui Wholesale Market in Guangzhou on September 15. and additional delays due to the coronavirus pandemic seen in recent years.
The shipment was imported by Guangzhou Qinguo Import and Export Trading Co. Ltd. and included the Forelle and Packham’s Triumph varieties. These are two of the most widely grown pear varieties in South Africa; together with Williams Bon Chretien (known as Bartlett in North America), they account for 78% of the country’s total pear planting acreage.
Packham’s Triumph is a sweet, juicy pear with a green skin that turns yellow as the fruit ripens. La Forelle, on the other hand, is a late variety with sweet and crunchy flesh. It is green with red blush and distinctive red lenticels. Some traders believe that Forelle is the South African pear that best meets the demands and preferences of consumers in the Chinese market. In an auspicious start, all the Forelle pears of the inaugural delivery were sold on the spot.
In terms of volume, South Africa is the second largest producer of pears in the southern hemisphere after only Argentina – with Chile and Australia in third and fourth place, respectively. A Qinguo representative said that in addition to South Africa’s off-season supply, its exported apples and pears also have competitive strengths in terms of quality and price.
South Africa’s export-oriented pear industry ships pears to markets in Europe and Asia. South African pear exports were around 230,000 metric tons in 2021, which was half of the country’s total production. The Western Cape Province is responsible for around 70% of South Africa’s pear production, with smaller amounts grown in the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and other provinces.
The road has been long to carry out the recent expedition. In 2003, South Africa applied to Chinese customs authorities for permission to export apples and pears to China. The apples finally gained market access in 2015 and did very well in China thanks to marketing and promotional support from Hortgro Pome, which represents apple and pear growers in South Africa. South African apple exports to China nearly doubled in 2021 compared to the previous year.
However, in the case of pears, the market access approval process has dragged on. Hortgro expected that bilateral phytosanitary protocols could be signed in 2020, but the pandemic temporarily halted progress. China’s General Administration of Customs finally signed the protocols in November last year and granted official market access to South African pears in December.
According to Qinguo, a second container of South African pears has already arrived at the port and will soon hit the market. The success of these initial single-container shipments could pave the way for larger shipments in the future and a continued presence of South African pears in the Chinese market.
Images: Guangzhou Qinguo and Hortgro Pome
This article was based on a Chinese article. Read the original article.