Perishable Products Export

We are blessed with an abundance of fruit in the Republic. In 2013, we were the world’s largest exporter of oranges, sixth largest exporter of lemons, third largest exporter of grapefruit, ninth largest exporter of table grapes, and the seventh largest of peaches and nectarines.1 We were the fifth largest exporter of apples, fourth largest of pears and sixth of raisins.2

In the 2016/2017 season, over 266 million cartons of fresh fruit was passed for export by the Perishable Produce Export Control Board. In the same period, over 112 million kilograms of fresh vegetables were passed for export, as were over 46 million kilograms of dairy produce.3

Fortunately, or unfortunately – depending on how you look at it – most of the best quality produce is exported. However, we locals can put up with second best when the export of (our top grade) fresh produce generates billions of rand, annually, in foreign currency.4 That’s big business.5

The title of the Perishable Products Export Control Act 1983 speaks for itself. These products, of course, list more than just fruit – the Act governs vegetables, flowers, butter, eggs, fish, meat, cheese and any by-product from these fresh foodstuffs, as well as deep frozen foods. It falls under the authority of the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, but – as will be seen – a large role is played by the Perishable Products Export Control Board.

  1. It is an offence to export any perishable product if you are not registered with the Board as an exporter.6

  2. Any person who exports any perishable product will be guilty of an offence unless it is in terms of a contract (or other similar type of arrangement) made by, through or with the consent of the Board.7

  3. If you accept shipping space for the export of perishable products other than in terms of a contract (or arrangement) made by, through or with the consent of the Board you will commit an offence.8

  4. Any person who submits a false statement or representation to the Board, regarding any matter in connection with the export of perishable products, will be guilty of an offence.9

  5. The Board regularly calls for estimates of intended exports. It is an offence to disclose (except if required by law to do so, or unless the Board consents) any information obtained from such estimates or the particulars furnished in that regard.10

  1. – ‘South African Fruit Trade Flow December 2017’. This is a report from the National Agricultural Marketing Council. 

  2. See

  3. See

  4. – ‘Farmers Confident Fruit Destined for EU will not be contaminated’. 

  5. By comparison, the Republic is the 22nd largest exporter of beef and veal –

  6. Section 24(1)(a). 

  7. Section 24(1)(b). 

  8. Section 24(1)(c). 

  9. Section 24(1)(d). 

  10. Section 24(1)(e) read with section 10(c).