Pome fruits are members of the plant family Rosaceae, sub-family pomoideae. They are fruits that have a core of several small seeds, surrounded by a tough membrane. The membrane is, in turn, encased in an edible layer of flesh. Apples and pears are the best known examples of pome fruit; others that are found in South Africa include loquats and quinces.
South Africa produces approximately 1,3 million tonnes of apples and pears each year. The total value of the pome fruit production amounts to more than R8 billion, with 92% of this generated by fresh fruit sales.
Some 45% of the total pome fruit production is destined for the export market, with the main destinations being the Far East and Asia, Africa and the EU.
The per capita consumption of apples and pears in South Africa is calculated at 4,12kg and 0,96kg, respectively. According to the 2015 tree census, 36 322ha pome fruit are established in South Africa, with 81% of these plantings situated in the Western Cape and 17% in the Eastern Cape. The major cultivated varieties per fruit kind are:
Apples: ‘Golden Delicious’, ‘Granny Smith’ and ‘Royal Gala’. ‘Cripps’ Pink’ showed the most growth in hectares planted over the last five years.