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South African gold kiwifruit achieves high yields with good size and quality

"I feel this is one of the most exciting opportunities in agriculture in the world right now”

The South African Gold kiwifruit season is looking very positive this year, according to Peter Nicholson from Roselands Farm who grows Gold kiwi-fruit in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal and who is a shareholder in the Intellectual Property of both the Sunveld (formerly Skelton) as well as the TopGold varieties.

“After a very challenging few years since we planted in 2013, we are finally gaining traction with new orchards and new varieties coming into production with high yields and good size and quality fruit. Over the past decade we have learned invaluable lessons on how to grow this very technical fruit in South Africa,” said Pete, “and are passing on this valuable knowledge to our new growers through a mentorship programme as well as providing technical support. There is no margin for error growing gold-kiwi fruit and the support we provide is vital for our growers to succeed.”

"I feel this is one of the most exciting opportunities in agriculture in the world right now,” says Peter. “ We have an almost entirely open window period to export into the Northern Hemisphere with only around 250 hectares currently planted in South Africa of this high yielding, high value super fruit and a decade of experience now under our belts."

Last year, South Africa as a whole exported just under 1200 tonne of kiwifruit, but this year with new orchards coming into production volumes are estimated at 1500 tonnes and set to increase substantially year on year.

“Last year some trial shipments of our new variety Cape Gold (H14) were done via our marketers (KiwiConnection) to Asia and these were very well received in Hong Kong and Singapore,” says Peter. “Cape Gold is a big fruit and of particular interest due to the appearance of the fruit being similar to Horth16A and KiwiConnection will be shipping the first commercial volumes to their Asian as well as European markets this season.”

Another exciting development is that commercial plantings of TopGold commenced in 2022 and the first fruit will be exported in 2025. Currently the big market for South African kiwifruit is Europe as the timing of the South African season falls into the window between European production and the arrival of the new season kiwifruit from New Zealand.

“We expect the window to potentially be even bigger this year due to the problems with shipping through the Red Sea and Suez canal, and the Panama Canal is also experiencing delays due to the drought which is adding a week onto transit times.”

The very first South African kiwifruit will be harvested next month at the beginning of February running through to the end of March, giving exporters plenty of time to get the fruit to Europe before the first arrivals from New Zealand.

For more information:
Peter Nicholson
Tel: +27 82 457 1614
Email: [email protected]

Pieter De Jongh
Tel: +27 82 958 6699
[email protected]

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