Introduction

Dried fruit is fruit that has been dried, either naturally or through use of a machine, such as a food dehydrator. Raisins, prunes and dates are examples of popular dried fruits. Other fruits such as apples, apricots, bananas, cranberries, figs, kiwi, mangoes, nectarines, papaya, peaches, pears, persimmons, pineapples, strawberries and tomatoes may also be dried.

The global increase in health consciousness has the South African dried fruit industry. The website https://driedfruitsa.co.za sets out the health benefits of the individual fruit species as dried fruit.

Advantages of dried fruit production include:

  • A prolonged shelf life, and thus a longer marketing period – which extends fruit availability to all year round.
  • Reduced storage space required, which lowers transportation costs.
  • Low or no refrigeration costs.
  • They are peeled, cut and ready for use by the consumer.
  • The dehydrated value is higher than fresh produce.
  • Good compatibility with other ingredients in dry food mixtures.
  • Prices are more stable than fresh produce prices.

International business environment

The global dried fruit market is valued at around 11 billion USD, with dried grapes (raisins) occupying a significant share of around 25-30% (Raisins SA, 2023).

The largest producers of raisins are Turkey, China, US, Chile, South Africa, Argentina, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Greece, and Australia (Van den Berg, 2023).

The top exporters are Chile, Italy, US, South Africa, Netherlands, China, Spain, Australia, India and Egypt (TRIDGE, 2023).

South Africa: imports and exports

Depending on the harvest, South Africa is the world’s 4th/5th largest exporter of raisins, with more than 90% of its total crop earmarked for key international markets (Raisins SA, 2024; TRIDGE, 2023).

Europe is by far South Africa’s largest foreign market for raisins, followed by North America (USDA, 2021).

Namibia is a traditional exporter of raisins to South Africa since it enjoys duty-free access based on its membership in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).

Further reference:

Local business environment

  • Dried fruit is produced mainly in the Western Cape, the Southwestern Districts, Northern Cape, the Little Karoo, the Olifants River area and the Lower and Upper Orange River area. Apricots are mainly produced in the Little Karoo. Prunes are grown almost exclusively in the Tulbagh district in the Western Cape. Most raisins are produced along the Lower Orange River. Currants come from the Vredendal district. Tree fruit, as opposed to vine fruit, is dried mainly in the Western Cape and the Southwestern districts.
  • Dried fruit production is labour-intensive.
  • Both the local marketing and exporting of dried fruit are free from government intervention. However, in the case of exports, phytosanitary requirements and quality standards must be adhered to.

 

Further reference:

  • Find the Raisins South Africa quarterly newsletters at https://raisinsa.co.za.
  • Refer to the articles listed under the “Websites and publications” heading further down this page.

For the newcomer

Find the document “Postharvest food drying technique using a solar tunnel dryer” by Khangelani Mkhathini and Sandile Zulu (Research & Technology 2015/23) on www.kzndard.gov.za. Environmental conditions do not always allow for open sun drying. A solar tunnel dryer can be constructed “from locally available materials at a relatively low capital cost and there are no fuel costs”.

Find the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) booklet Solar drying of fruit and vegetables at www.dalrrd.gov.za.. The process of preparing fresh produce, the drying process itself, many recipes and more is looked at.

Khangelani Mkhathini’s doctoral thesis, which can be downloaded at https://efwe.ukzn.ac.za/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Mkhathini_KM.pdf, includes a look at the use of drying technologies.

Role players

Companies

Note: Click to expand the headings below.  To get a free listing on our website like the ones below, visit here for more information or place your order here. Disclaimer: The role player listings are not vetted by this website.

Representative Bodies
Dried Fruit SA https://driedfruitsa.co.za Its two members are Dried Tree Fruit and Raisins SA.
Agri Northern Cape https://agrink.co.za/en/commodities/ For dried fruit matters, farmers contact Ferdi Botha. Find more details on the website.
Training, Consulting & Research Service Providers
South African Plant Improvement Organisation Trust (SAPO Trust) www.saplant.co.za A specialist plant improvement organisation owned by deciduous fruit growers through Hortgro Services, the Canning Fruit Producers Association, the Dried Tea Fruit and South African Table Grapes.
Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute www.elsenburg.com Dried Fruit is part of the Diploma at Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute, Stellenbosch. Training covers the whole fruit production process: planting, pruning, irrigation, fertilisation, pest- and disease management, harvesting, and drying of the crop.
ARC-Agricultural Engineering (AE) www.arc.agric.za Small-scale fruit and vegetable drying for smallholder farmers.

National strategy and government contact

In the Agricultural Policy and Action Plan (APAP) document, dried fruit was included in the discussion on the fruit and vegetable value chain.

  • Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) Directorate: Food Safety and Quality Assurance www.dalrrd.gov.za
  • National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) www.namc.co.za A statutory levy is payable to Raisins South Africa on dried vine fruit (raisins) produced and imported into South Africa. Find details on the NAMC website.
  • Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform & Rural Development www.agrinc.gov.za
  • The Job Funds www.jobsfund.org.za
  • National Development Agency (NDA) www.nda.org.za

Websites and publications

Visit the websites and publications referred to earlier on the page, specifically under the earlier heading “For the newcomer”.

  • Find the DALRRD booklet/info pak “Solar drying of fruit and vegetables” at www.dalrrd.gov.za.
  • The DALRRD Horticulture Marketing Extension Papers 2 and 3 on the same website include adding value by drying fruit.
  • Refer to the ARC Agricultural Engineering publications on adding value to fruit e.g. Agro-processing of Deciduous fruit (Apples, apricots, grapes, pears, plums, peaches, figs) and Agro-processing of Subtropical Fruit(Avocado, bananas, figs, guava, kiwifruit, litchi, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple) (see “Agro-processing” page). Call 012 842 4017 or email stoltze [at] arc.agric.za.
  • Find the notes on drying mangoes at www.mango.co.za.
  • Brett, A, Cox, D.R.S., Simmons, R. & Anstee, G. 1996. “Producing Solar Dried Fuit and Vegetables for micro and small-scale Rural Enterprise Development”. Handbook 3: Practical Aspects of Processing. Chatham, UK: Natural Resources Institute.
  • Read the US Department of Agriculture‘s update on South Africa’s raisin sector, Raisin Annual (August 2021) on the Internet.

 

Some articles:

Share this article

Recommended Posts
0

Start typing and press Enter to search