The coronavirus outbreak has dealt a blow to South Africa’s aspirations to grow its pear exports to China in the face of a waning European market. Negotiations between South Africa and China have been under way for many years, and the recent outbreak has resulted in further delays.
Core Fruit said that “the expectation was for South African pears to be exported to China this season". The Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (Daff) said that both countries had been scheduled to meet in South Africa last November to sign the long-awaited protocol allowing South African pears into China, but for various reasons the Chinese ministry was unable to attend.
As a solution Daff arranged to travel to China in the next month to sign the protocol - but with no sign of an end to the coronavirus outbreak, exporters are unsure when South African pears will enter Chinese markets. – Zoë van Rooyen