April 21, 2024

South Africa-China Avocado Trade Deal Boosts Export Opportunities


In March 2023, a trade agreement was finalized between South Africa and China, permitting the export of South African Hass avocados to China for seven months, from April to October. This agreement, which began its implementation process in March, stemmed from efforts to address the trade deficit announced during the previous year’s BRICS summit. China also agreed to import beef from South Africa this year. The culmination of these negotiations was confirmed by avocado supplier Westfalia, marking a significant milestone in bilateral trade relations.

China emerged as South Africa’s largest trading partner in 2023, with a focus on expanding exports to include agricultural products like pears, apples, and avocados. This initiative aligns with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s plan to strengthen relations with South Africa and other African nations, particularly in trade and agriculture.

Derek Donkin from the South African Subtropical Growers’ Association noted that exporters are ready to penetrate the Chinese market once official requirements are met.

South Africa’s avocado industry has experienced significant growth, driven by investments and export demand. The country boasts around 19,500 hectares of commercial avocado orchards, with an additional 800 hectares planted annually. The harvesting period spans from February to mid-January, with peak production from February to August.

Most of South Africa’s avocado exports consist of the Hass variety, primarily destined for Europe and the UK. South Africa joins Kenya and Tanzania as the third African nation meeting China’s stringent export standards for avocados. However, Peru remains China’s primary avocado trading partner and the world’s second-largest exporter.