Fruit Farming in South Africa

© Louise Brodie

Fruit Farming in South Africa consist of a wide variety of fruits - from oranges and apples to table grapes and dragon fruit, South Africa is a land of fantastic fruit and one of the main fruit producing countries in the world. More than 50% of our agricultural exports is fruit, which contributes 2.5% to South Africa’s Growth Domestic Profit (GDP).

Figures from Fruit South Africa indicated that more than 4.7 million tons of fruit are produced in South Africa of which 59% is exported, 28% is used for processing and 12% sold locally. Citrus, at 55%, forms the bulk of South African fruit production, while pome and stone fruit, 34%, table grapes, 6%, exotics and nuts, 5%, fill the rest of South Africa’s fruit basket.

A huge industry to cover, is introducing fruit production in South Africa with a few smaller, lesser-known fruits. Information about the growing, harvesting and processing of fruit is available in all 11 South African languages to help all South Africans appreciate the bounty of their land.


Apples are one of the most widely known and produced fruit types globally. Apple trees or Malus pumila originated in Central Asia and have been cultivated in Asia, Europe and North America for centuries....more


South Africa supplies avocados from the southern hemisphere when production in the northern hemisphere is limited as well as to a growing local market....more


Banana is a herbaceous tropical fruit plant. It originated from the South West Pacific regions and islands. The first documented evidence of its spread was to India by about 550 BC and thereafter it quickly spread to all other tropical regions of the worl...more


Blueberries are native to Asia, Scandinavia and North America, with early native Americans already recognising the health and medicinal value of these berries....more


In berry production, brambles usually refer to raspberries, blackberries and crosses of these such as tayberries and loganberries....more

Cactus Pear

Cactus Pear is one of the most commercially important cactus species and versatile crops in the world, with almost the whole plant being suited for usage....more


There is an interesting story behind what some believe to be the origin of the Afrikaans name for cantaloupe, spanspek....more

Cape Gooseberries

The Cape Gooseberry, called “appeliefie” in Afrikaans, derives its name from its husk-like cape and not because it has any link to Cape Town in South Africa....more


The production of sweet cherries in South Africa is a small but fast-growing industry; plantings have increased by 25% in just two years from 2017....more


Citrus fruits are characterised by their sharp flavour and some citrus types, such as lemons and limes, are sour or tart to the taste, while others are sweet....more


Cucumbers are produced commercially, in South Africa, in open land and in greenhouses. The cucumber is part of the family Cucurbitaceae, as are pumpkins, watermelon, cantaloupe and squash....more


The date pal tree can reach about 20 metres in height, growing as a single stem or if left and not pruned and cleaned at the base will form a bush of several stems from the same root system....more

Dragon Fruit

Dragon Fruit Farming is a relatively young industry in South Africa, local dragon fruit farms show huge potential to deliver substantial amounts of fruit to northern hemisphere markets....more


A delicate, yet versatile fruit, the fig has been known to mankind for millennia and is a hugely popular fruit in Turkey, which is the world’s biggest producer....more


Vitamin C-rich passion fruit or granadillas as they are known in South Africa, are mostly grown for export as fresh fruit or to be processed into granadilla pulp. It is a popular garden plant with attractive flowers that rewards the gardener or farmer...more


Guavas are a tropical fruit, which is produced in tropical and subtropical regions across the globe. The Psidium guajava is a small tree from the Myrtaceae (Myrtle) family with dark green...more


Although a small producer compared to the volumes produced by China, South Africa’s litchi production contributes to an important supply of southern hemisphere fruit to markets in the European winter....more


Mangoes can be grown in a wide variety of climates from tropical to arid. The bulk of South African mangoes come from the Hoedspruit area in the Limpopo Province. Mangoes are available during the South African summer, which begins in November...more


Mulberries are thought to have originated in China, Japan and the Himalayan Foothills. The trees are primarily associated with sericulture (silk production), with China spinning silk from...more


South African olive producers focus on premium quality products, such as extra virgin olive oil and diversify their product range with value-added olive oil products,...more


Pears are a domestic fruit that is predominantly grown in the Western Cape region of South Africa. This fruit is in season from February to August, and the bulk of production is exported to countries such as the United Kingdom....more


Persimmons are produced in tropical to temperate regions across the globe and are known by several names including Persimmon...more


Pineapples are a tropical plant with juicy edible fruit, characterised by its golden hue and prickly outer layer....more


Pomegranates in South Africa are either a completely mystical fruit or one that is a fond memory from childhood when bushy shrubs grew in grandparents’ gardens....more


Prunes, Prunus domestica, are different varieties of the European Plum. Prune generally refers to the dried plums or the plum varieties that are suitable for drying....more


Raisins are dried grape berries and the word raisin is, in fact, the French word for grape. Raisins are produced commercially, by drying harvested grape berries, and are generally sweet, due to their high concentration of sugars....more

Stone Fruit

Stone fruit represents various fruit types that have a stone in the middle, such as peaches, nectarines, plums, lychees, mangoes, coconuts, and cherries as well as coffee beans, olives, almonds, dates and pistachios....more


Strawberries have been used for medicinal purposes by the ancient Romans as far back as 230 B.C., to cure anything from melancholy to kidney stones....more

Table Grapes

Table grapes are grapes produced for fresh consumption as a fruit. This sets them apart from grapes produced for making grape juice, wine or raisins. The grapevine is known as Vitis vinifera and is native to the Mediterranean region....more


Table tomatoes are one of the most cultivated crops in the world and there are several hundred varieties of tomato available. The fruit is rich in lycopene and Vitamin C. Tomatoes are used in...more


Watermelon is thought to have originated in Africa’s arid and semi arid regions. Watermelon is a cucurbit and part of the Cucurbitaceae family. Learn about watermelon planting methods, cultivars...more