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South Africa: apples and pears bear brunt of flood damage

An estimated 7.8 million cartons of fruit are expected to be lost from South Africa’s Ceres area following extensive flooding that hit the region Nov. 15 to 17, according to Hortgro.

“Some farms in the Witzenberg valley area of Ceres have lost 90% of their crop while less damages are estimated in other areas such as Warm Bokkeveld and parts of the Little Karoo,” Hortgro reported.

Split mostly between apples and pears, exports are expected to shed 4 million cartons. Based on last season’s prices, this volume loss is estimated to cost between ZAR300 million (US$29.6 million) and ZAR400 million (US$39.5 million).

“Apples and pears were mainly affected as it makes up the majority of planted hectares in the Ceres area. Apricots, especially Supergold and Palsteyn, plums and early varieties of nectarines and peaches, as well as cherries, were also affected. At this stage it is difficult to establish the damage caused to stonefruit,” Hortgro said.

Many orchards remain very wet, impeding further investigation.

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