Frost in the Limpopo region has caused severe damage to crops with prices for tomatoes, spinach, and peppers, surging at least 20% in just one week. Limpopo is the northernmost province of South Africa. It is named after the Limpopo River, which forms the province’s western and northern borders.
This is as Russia has become the main destination for Turkish fruit and vegetable exports. Turkey’s fruit and vegetable exports have experienced a 20% year-on-year increase in the first seven months of the year, rising to 1.638 billion dollars, according to the Union of Mediterranean Exporters.
In this period, Russia has positioned itself as the main destination market for Turkish fruit and vegetable products, with purchases of about $ 526,818,000 (32% of the total). It is followed by Germany with $ 186,496,000, Romania with $ 141,120,000, Iraq with $ 132,287,000 and Ukraine with $ 91,177,000.
Director of the Mediterranean Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Nejdat Sin, says Turkey has an important position in this sector’s exports. Sin has indicated that they do not want to remain dependent on a single market and a single country in any way. “We are always looking for new markets in the Far East, the Balkan countries, and the EU,” he stated.
However, last week, volumes of spinach and peppers delivered to fresh produce markets declined. This resulted in prices shooting up, Managing Director of agricultural information group Agrimark Trends (AMT), Johnny van der Merwe, said in his weekly video that tracks market prices for fresh produce.
During the past few weeks, Limpopo saw extreme instances of frost, which caused damage to crops including spinach, tomatoes, and peppers. Spinach was the worst affected vegetable among those tracked by AMT over the past week, with the price rocketing 27% to R5.13 per kilogram.
The price of tomatoes, which had begun to stabilise from recent highs caused by excessive rainfall that damaged crops earlier this year, shot up by more than 20% week on week. It’s still much lower than it was in April when it reached R19.52 per kilogram.
“The latest tomato price increased by 23% to R8.09 per kilogram with the cold weather resulting in volumes to decrease on the markets”, Van Der Merwe said.
Regular market analyst for AMT, Pieter van Zyl, said the full impact of the recent frost damage in Limpopo is yet to be felt. “Last week was the third week in a row where tomato prices have risen, the lower sales volumes [during] the last week or two as a result of frost damage on Limpopo,” he said.
Likely, this will result in overall lower sales volumes for August traditionally a month with the highest sales volumes of tomatoes. “I think this will change this month because of the frost damage about two weeks ago in Limpopo,” Van Zyl said.