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CAPE TOWN – South African consumers can look forward to a steady supply of avocados all year round, provided that a pest and disease prevention agreement is reached between Tanzania and South Africa.
Most of the avocado season in South Africa happens between mid-February and late October each year, while the avocado off-season falls between November and January, Derek Donkin, CEO of the South African Avocado Growers’ Association (SAAGA), told African News Agency (ANA.). ) on Friday.
“(Tanzania’s avocados) are ready to pick a bit before ours, so they see it as an opportunity to supply the South African market during this time,” said Donkin.
Donkin said that South Africa imports some avocados from countries like Spain, but the costs involved are much higher than importing from Tanzania.
Local Kenyan news publication The EastAfrican reported Tuesday that SAAGA is pushing to resolve a pest infestation related to Tanzania’s Hass and Fuerte avocados, which were subsequently seized on the South African border near Beitbridge.
They added that the Tanzanian avocados are expected to be available in the South African market by December.
Donkin replied, “At the moment they (Tanzania) cannot bring them (avocados) into the country because (because of) what they call the Phytosanitary Agreement – the agreement between the two countries on how to deal with pests and diseases – which have to be signed before they can be brought into the country (South Africa) ”.
In addition, SAAGA could not drive a government-to-government process, he said.
Donkin was therefore unable to confirm whether the avocados from Tanzania are expected to be available on the South African market by December.
Fuerte avocados are susceptible to a range of pests, including scale insects, codling moths, thrips, fruit flies, spider mites, and wasps, according to Oxfam Organic, a Kenyan company that grows a number of products such as avocados.
They are also prone to diseases such as cercospora fruit spots, scab, anthracnose, and root rot.