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Top 5 Most Marketable Export Crops

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

What are Export Crops?

Export crops are crops that are grown for export purposes. Generally, any crop can be an export crop, provided that a farmer has a market for it in a foreign country. In the context of this article, we will discuss export crops from Africa to other continents, and not from one African country to another.

Why should you farm export crops?

Farming crops for the export market is a lucrative exercise. If you have the right capacity to fulfill international orders for your product, you could make better profits than when selling on the local market. Another option is selling your farm produce to exporter companies. These companies tend to offer better farm-gate prices for farm produce than local wholesale buyers.

Through growing export produce, farmers get to learn best practices for producing food for foreign markets. The rules for accessing the export market are stringent. The quality and safety standards are also strict. Through observation of these international standards, farmers get to raise the quality of their produce.

As a farmer producing farm produce for export, you will receive better governmental support than if you were farming for the local market. Somehow, governments are always keen to earn foreign exchange. Exporting farm produce is one of the main ways of doing this. To achieve this, many African governments are always providing technical support and putting in place policies to streamline their agricultural export sectors. Farmers targeting the export market need to leverage this.

How we determine our most marketable export crops

We determine our most marketable export crops on the basis of the following factors;

  • The export value of a crop for the past 5 years

  • Performance trends of an export crop for the past 5 years

Top 5 Most Marketable Export Crops

Over the last decade, avocado has crept up the list of the most marketable export crops from Africa. In 2019, Africa exported avocadoes worth $298 million. Africa’s predominantly hot climate makes it easy to produce tasty avocados that are attractive on the export market. The leading exporting African countries are Kenya and South Africa. They export avocados to the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, UAE, and Saudi Arabia. China is also an emerging important avocado market for African farmers.

While there are several avocado varieties that you can grow, only two are marketable on the export market. These are Hass and Fuerte varieties. These varieties mature and begin to fruit in under 4 years. As of 2018, the average export prices of Hass and Fuerte varieties range between $1.34 to $1.51 per kilogram.

Passion Fruits

Passion fruits are another marketable fruit on the export market. The largest producers of passion fruits in Africa are South Africa and Kenya. There are two passion fruit varieties that you can grow. These are the purple passion fruit and the yellow passion fruit. The purple passion fruit is more marketable on the export market.

The top destinations for Africa’s passion fruits are the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and the Middle East. The average export price for passion fruits is $1.5 per kilogram.

With the availability of more mango varieties in Africa, African countries are continuously grabbing mango export opportunities. Through grafting, farmers are now able to propagate mangoes to begin fruiting in less than 5 years.

Mangoes from Africa are exported to the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. In 2019, mango exports from Sub-Saharan Africa were estimated to be valued at $208 million. With the increasing demand on the international market, this figure is projected to rise.


Oranges are a marketable export fruit that you can explore farming. South Africa is the only major exporter of oranges in Africa. The country dominates 17% of the global fresh and dried oranges trade. In 2019, South Africa exported oranges worth $904 million.

The main export destinations for South Africa’s oranges are Europe, Asia, the USA, and the Middle East. The major orange variety that South Africa exports is the Navel Valencia variety.


Macadamia is the only non-fruit commodity that makes it into our list. While macadamia does not have the robust numbers of the other items we have featured on our list, we believe it has a huge potential.

Macadamia is a tree nut that is gaining a foothold in Africa. Currently, the main producers of macadamia in Africa are South Africa and Kenya. South Africa produces 27% of the global production while Kenya produces 13%. The macadamia has big export markets in the USA, Europe, China, and Japan. On the export market, macadamia is sold for $13.52 per kilogram.

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