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South Africa Dominates African Fruit Exports, Egypt Challenges Despite Desert Landscape

In 2021, the value of fruit exports from Africa revealed South Africa as the leading exporter, reaching a staggering $4.85 billion. The rankings, based on the value of exports in billions of USD, showcased the following key players:

  1. South Africa: Leading the pack with $4.85 billion in fruit exports.
  2. Egypt: Surprisingly securing the second spot with $1.75 billion, despite its predominantly desert landscape.
  3. Morocco: Claiming the third position with $1.72 billion in fruit exports.
  4. Côte d’Ivoire: Garnering $0.33 billion in fruit exports.
  5. Kenya: Following closely behind with $0.26 billion.
  6. Cameroon: Notching up $0.179 billion in fruit exports.
  7. Ghana: Raking in $0.178 billion from fruit exports.
  8. Namibia: Accumulating $0.082 billion in fruit exports.
  9. Eswatini: Generating $0.053 billion from fruit exports.
  10. Tunisia: Marking the list’s end with $0.05 billion in fruit exports.

The standout observation was the significant value of South Africa’s fruit exports, which nearly equaled the total value of all exports from Kenya. Kenya’s exports encompassed a diverse range of products, including tea leaves, coffee, horticultural products, and others. This stark comparison highlights the dominance of South Africa in the fruit export market.

Egypt’s presence at the second position, despite being primarily a desert nation with only 4 million hectares of arable land, raises eyebrows. The country’s impressive agricultural production and productivity, especially in the fruit sector, could serve as an inspiration for sub-Saharan African nations striving to enhance their agricultural practices.

Contrary to expectations, Nigeria, the economic powerhouse of Africa, ranked a modest 34th in fruit exports. Despite being a leading producer of fruits such as mangoes, citrus fruits, and pineapples, Nigeria primarily caters to its domestic market, resulting in limited fruit exports.

In contrast, South Africa, the top fruit exporter, exhibits low per capita consumption of various fruits. This could be attributed to its focus on meeting export demands rather than domestic consumption. For example, Nigeria boasts a per capita pineapple consumption of 6.8 kg/person/year, while South Africa’s estimate stands at a mere 0.3 kg/person/year, reflecting their differing priorities.

These rankings shed light on Africa’s fruit export landscape, with South Africa leading the charge and unexpected contenders like Egypt making their mark. The data encourages countries to explore their potential in the fruit sector and further develop their agricultural practices to contribute to Africa’s export-driven economy.

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