SAAGA, together with the South African Litchi Growers’ Association (SALGA) and South African Mango Growers’ Association (SAMGA), is a member of the Subtropical Growers’ Association (Subtrop). Subtrop membership benefits SAAGA by the effective use of resources through shared management, administration and technical services.
SAAGA is an association run by avocado growers for avocado growers and membership is open to all persons who have an interest in the industry.
SAAGA enables the industry to achieve things that individuals are unable to achieve on their own with the view that in the long term, what is good for the industry, is good for the individual.
Avocado research funded by SAAGA is held in high regard internationally. SAAGA‘s research priorities are determined annually with inputs from its technical committee, grower members and technical staff. Current research projects include:
- Post-harvest active ingredients that are suitable alternatives for the replacement of Prochloraz
- Mechanisms to better control Phytophthora root rot, avocado sunblotch viroid, Rosellinia root rot, moths and fruit fly pests, and thrips
- Strategies to improve soil health in orchards
- Factors to help with mass production of rootstock material, identify nutrient norms, and limit cold damage to trees in marginal areas
- Potential strategies that can assist with crop estimates, limiting lenticel damage, and establishing minimum maturity standards for several cultivars
- Optimising protocols for post-harvest storage and transport of fruit to retailers
Research results are presented at SAAGA’s annual research symposium and published in the SAAGA yearbook.
SAAGA’s involvement in the Avocado Nurserymen’s Association’s plant improvement scheme is aimed at improving the quality of nursery trees through regular nursery audits. The names of accredited nurseries are published on the SAAGA website to guide growers in sourcing good plants.
As a result of SAAGA’s membership of the Subtropical Growers’ Association (Subtrop), SAAGA members have access to horticulturists in all the major production regions.
These horticulturists operate mainly through regional study groups. Farm visits are carried out on request. Technical information is also provided through bulletins sent to growers, the Subtrop Journal and the member’s section of www.avocado.co.za, and the SAAGA App.
The SAAGA board, which is democratically elected by growers in the various regions, is focused on ensuring that SAAGA’s levies are used as effectively as possible to assist avocado growers to maintain the profitability of their operations.
Over the past decade, SAAGA has funded research on fruit fly and other phytosanitary pests, which will enable South African avocados to access new markets including the USA, China, Japan, and India. Access to new markets requires bilateral government-to-government engagements.
SAAGA, through Subtrop, supplies information to relevant government departments to facilitate this process. SAAGA also works through Fruit South Africa to ensure that government-to-government processes relating to market access continue to move forward. Without SAAGA’s inputs, initiatives to access new markets, as well as retain and optimise access to existing markets, would not progress.
SAAGA has funded generic promotion of avocados in South Africa since 1999. SAAGA’s work targets consumers through various media and platforms to educate them on the health aspects and culinary versatility of avocados. A strong local market is vital provides diversification of risk in an export focused industry.
Through cooperation with all the major countries supplying avocados to the EU, as well as exporters and packhouses, SAAGA is able to provide information that allows growers, exporters, packers and importers to plan exports to avoid supply peaks which result in market crashes. Without this information, orderly growth in the market would not be able to take place.
In the early 2000s the European market could only accommodate 600 000 4-kg-cartons per week at reasonable prices. Currently the market is able to accommodate 5.5 million cartons per week.
Study groups are held in the different production regions and allow growers to learn from each other and industry experts.
Updated: 03 July 2023