Additionally, more orchards are being grubbed out as a result of overproduction and disease in some areas.
According to trade sources, several packhouses will not be operating this season, although there is capacity for the fruit to be packed by other shippers.
Despite this, the industry is confident export sales to Europe could be on the upturn and reach eight million cartons.
In sharp contrast to last year, the South African season has finished early, leading to a shortage, though fruit is of good quality.
How much fruit will fill the gap from Mediterranean sources remains to be seen.