STRAWBERRY PRODUCTION IN SOUTH AFRICA
Approximately 300 hectares of strawberries are grown in South Africa and about 80 percent of this area is planted to locally bred cultivars. Prior to the commencement of the breeding programme, yield exceeded 6 t/ha but now yields of 20 to 30 t/ha are obtained.
Strawberries are grown as an annual crop on raised beds covered with black plastic mulch. The main production areas are situated in the provinces of Transvaal (120 ha - summer rainfall) and the Western Cape (180 ha - winter rainfall). In the former area, 85 per cent of the crop is marketed fresh whereas in the other area about 80 per cent is processed.
In the Transvaal some farmers grow strawberries in tunnels (10–15 ha). This enalbes them to produce fruit from late May until mid-December. In the western Cape the season is September to December.
Selekta, a large fruited strawberry, is the most important cultivar in the Transvaal whilst the high yielding Tiobelle is preferred in the Western Cape. Problems which are encountered are Botrytis rot, nematodes, Verticillium wilt and leaf diseases.
The annual value of the crop is estimated to be worth about 25 million rands.