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 extension staff. Current research projects include:
Research results are presented at SAAGA’s annual research symposium and published in the SAAGA year book
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 in the SAAGA newsletter to guide growers in sourcing good plant
As a result of SAAGA’s membership of the Subtropical Growers’ Association (Subtrop), SAAGA members have access to extension officers in all the major production regions.
These extension officers operate mainly through regional study groups. Farm visits are carried out on request. Technical information is also provided through newsletters and the member’s section of www.avocado.co.za.
SAAGA has an overseas technical officer (OTO) permanently stationed in Europe. The OTO evaluates the quality of South African avocados and provides feedback to exporters, packhouses and growers either directly or through extension officers.
Data produced by the OTO is used to identify quality trends and which can be used to direct future actions to improve fruit quality.
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, the SAAGA export levy has only increased by 11,6% despite an average inflation rate of 5,6% per annum.
Since the mid-1990’s, SAAGA has funded campaigns to increase consumer awareness of the healthfulness and culinary versatility of avocados. Public relations campaigns through consumer and trade media locally and in Europe have helped ensure that the public knows about avocados and is constantly reminded about them. With growing production, continued profitability is reliant on increasing consumption.
SAAGA currently has campaigns in the UK, Sweden and Germany. In addition, SAAGA has increased it’s investment developing the South African market, which is growing strongly.
Avocados are very regularly featured in South African consumer magazines as a result of SAAGA’s consistent campaigns over the years.
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 such as the USA and Japan. Access to new markets requires government to government processes.
SAAGA, through Subtrop supplies information to relevant government departments to facilitate this process. Without SAAGA’s inputs, initiatives to access new markets would not progress.
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.
A decade ago, the European market could only accommodate 600,000 4kg cartons per week at reasonable prices. Currently the market is able to accommodate 1.2 million cartons per week.
Study groups are held in the different production regions and allow growers to learn from each other and industry experts.
SAAGA, together with the South African Litchi, Mango and Macadamia Grower Associations, 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.