Despite the relatively small size of the South African Litchi industry, the South African Litchi Growers’ Association (SALGA) has a proud history of research, which has positioned South Africa as a leader in litchi production technology and exports.

SALGA aims to use its limited resources to to things that  individual growers cannot do on their own.  Such activities include:

  • Production and post-harvest research;
  • Breeding and testing of new cultivars to extend the production season and access new markets;
  • Study groups;
  • Liaison with government and other bodies.

SALGA is an industry body that is recognized by government, allowing litchi growers to make inputs on important issues such as grading regulations, and to influence the political process of accessing new markets.

SALGA is involved, through Subtrop, in Department  of Agriculture , Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) working groups on food safety and chemical residues so that growers can remain up to date on these very important issues.

SALGA is partnering with the Agricultural Research Council in a project to breed better litchi cultivars and to obtain promising cultivars from other countries.  The aim is to extend the South African season with early and late maturing cultivars, as well as to obtain new cultivars with a suitable taste profile for new markets such as China.

This research, when applied, enables growers to increase yield and quality of their litchi production.

Information on production practices is disseminated in the Subtrop Journal, the member section, and at study groups.

SALGA is working towards accessing new markets such as China, South Korea, India and Vietnam.  The first shipments of South African litchis to the USA took place in 2015 – the result of a collaborative effort between SALGA and the government.  Access to new markets takes pressure of existing markets and provides opportunity for expansion.

Government to government processes are involved in accessing new markets.  SALGA, through Subtrop, is working hard to make sure that litchi market access matters remain a priority with government

No SALGA, no access to new markets!

Through SALGA, South African litchi growers are able to gain expertise from other countries.

The most recent example of this is the relationship between Chinese and South African researchers.  Litchis are indigenous to China.  Access to Chinese knowledge should assist.

Study groups are held in different production regions and allow growers to learn from each other and industry experts.