After years of drought, the Western Cape’s deciduous fruit harvest, which includes apples and pears, is looking up. This despite unexpected adverse weather conditions this past week causing damage to pear orchards in Grabouw in the Overberg.

Affected farmers are counting the costs.

Grabouw is known as prime apple and pear country. Finally, after several years of dire conditions, growers are excited about their harvest.

Industry and producer’s body, Hortgro, says 2020 was a much better winter with enough rain in most of the production areas. The result is high quality, promising fruit.

The apple harvest is predicted to be 38 million cartons. Pears are expected to reach nearly 18 million cartons, which is an increase of 5%.

Earlier this week, however, strong winds in the Grabouw and Vyeboom area caused great concern. This while the harvest is in full swing.

CEO of Agri Western Cape, Jannie Strydom, says Grabouw is an important area for fruit production in the country.

“This time of the year, producers are concerned about hail damage. Storm winds usually occur in the winter and when the fruit has already been harvested and the trees are at rest. The Grabouw area is a very important fruit producing region, not just for our province, but the country as a whole and it’s a pity that producers had to suffer damage,” says Strydom.

Hortgro, however, says it’s unlikely the damage will impact the overall harvest.

A record pear harvest is still expected if the rest of the season goes according to plan: