Global crisis ‘won’t affect Mzansi pepper prices’

Although poor weather conditions are currently influencing the supply of peppers in many overseas markets, experts are confident that it won’t really impact the pepper price in South Africa

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Poor weather conditions across the globe are affecting the supply of peppers in many markets, according to Fresh Plaza. In North America, growers were hampered by poor weather during the production and harvest seasons, as well as a lack of pallets for transporting.

Meanwhile in Europe, the cold start to spring initially slowed down production, driving prices up at the start of the season. The cold spell, however, has also limited the consumption in many countries, causing prices to drop, reports Fresh Plaza.

Dr Johnny van der Merwe, a Northwest University agricultural economist, however, says that what it is currently happening in pepper markets across the globe will not affect South African prices.

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Dr Johnny van der Merwe, agricultural economist with the North-West University. Photo: Supplied
Dr Johnny van der Merwe, agricultural economist with the North West University. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

Van der Merwe also indicated that when he analysed the latest vegetable prices in his weekly AMT Fresh Produce Outlook on the markets, he didn’t pick up on any real issues in the local bell pepper industry. He therefore believes that there was not a negative impact on the local pepper market.

He adds that Mzansi will only be impacted if we can’t export our peppers to intentional markets

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Dr John Purchase, the chief executive of Agbiz, indicated that he was not aware that South Africa was experiencing a pepper crisis. This, because the pepper prices were still regarded as “normal”.

“We produce our own peppers, which are the green, yellow and red peppers. I think our supply is in balance with the demand because peppers grow fairly easy in South Africa. So, it’s not a problem. I also have not picked up on any big price pressure or shortages in South Africa,” he says.

Shortage of red peppers

Dr John Purchase, Agbiz CEO
Dr John Purchase, the CEO of Agbiz. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

According to the Fresh Plaza report, South Africa has seen varied prices for bell peppers.

Green peppers are plentiful, and its price is under pressure on the market, but since Monday there has been a shortage of red peppers and the price has risen. The prices for yellow peppers are still considered quite reasonable.

Pepper growers in the north of South Africa come into full production in wintertime, when prices generally rise.The average price for peppers on the market is R7.66 per kilogram.

Meanwhile, growers in Netherlands, China and North America are in a crisis, adds Fresh Plaza.

The Netherlands started late because of the influence of the cold and rainy winter. This left an empty market and sky rocketing prices. However, the situation now is quite different.

In China, the influence of the cold weather has resulted in slow sales which are putting pressure on prices. In North America, bell peppers face multiple challenges in production and supply because of weather challenges.

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