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Abstract

The South African deciduous fruit industry has experienced difficulties in the past few years. Most deciduous fruit producers have suffered from increased globalisation of markets; trade liberalisation; deregulation of the industry; advances in information technology; changes in consumer preference; over-supply of deciduous fruit in South Africa’s traditional markets and increased global competition, particularly from Chile. These factors have a continuous effect on the competitiveness of the industry and force deciduous fruit producers to position themselves as capable competitors in the global free-market environment. This paper measures the competitive performance of the South African deciduous fruit supply chains relative to those of Chile. An internationally recognised index, the Relative Revealed Comparative Trade Advantage (RTA) index and also data from both Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO, 2007) and World Trade Organisation (WTO, 2007) are used to measure the competitive performance. The results reveal that South Africa’s deciduous fruit supply chains are shown to be competitive internationally, whereas Chile’s deciduous fruit supply chains are strongly internationally competitive. In most cases, South African fruit products to which value has been added have a competitive disadvantage, contrary to the case in Chile. South African deciduous fruit competitive performance decreases when moving from primary to processed products in the chains, an indication that value-adding opportunities are still limited

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