outh African avocado farmers, may have struck green gold. Booming demand at home and abroad, has doubled the fruits price tag over the past decade, and growers are looking to cash in. Reuters' Tanisha Heiberg, has been speaking to farmers.>> Many of these farmers themselves are opting to expand with plantings.
Growing by 1000 hectares per year. With industry experts expecting this to grow by 2000 hectares, in coming years. Growth in the avocado industry will not only benefit farmers, but will also provide employment to many of the surrounding communities. Avocado exports already generate over $130 million US for South Africa, but researchers are experimenting with ways to extend the season, by an extra four months.
They hope to find ways to grow the fruit in different climates, across the country. If successful, that could offer a lifeline to farmers who are trying to diversify their crops. After the worst drought here in a century, many are already clearing traditional commodities. Grapevines are being dug up in the western cape, home to South Africa’s famous wines.
Now farmers will have to wait six years, for new avocado plants to reach production. Industry experts say it's worth the wait, though, with no sign of a drop in global demand. One half of these fruits will end up in Europe, South Africa's also looking to feed a growing appetite for avocados in the U.S., and China.