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South Africa stone-fruit growers see record exports

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South Africa’s export volumes for nectarines, peaches and plums are expected to rise to a record in the 2015-16 season. Demand from the Middle East is climbing and new cultivars are being planted.

The nation may export 3.9 million 2.5-kilogram (5.5-pound) cartons of nectarines, 4% more than a year earlier, while peach exports may advance 5% to 2.1 million cartons of the same size, the South African Stone Fruit Producers Association said in an e-mailed statement. Exports of plums are seen increasing 3% to 11.82 million, 5.25-kilogram cartons.

“Over the last couple of seasons the traditional markets have shown a renewed interest in our export fruit, with continued strong growth in other markets such as the Middle East,” Jacques du Preez, general manager for trade and markets at Hortgro, to which the stone-fruit group is affiliated, said in a separate e-mailed response to questions.

The UK is the top export destination for South African nectarines, buying 58%, with the Middle East purchasing 42% of peaches exported, according to Du Preez.