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South African Grape Exports Facing Port Delays

January 15, 2024

According to the latest update released by South African Table Grape Industry, 20.92 million cartons (4.5 kilograms per carton) had been inspected for export as of week 52, representing an increase of 6% from the previous year. However, total exports amounted to just 9.87 million cartons, down 29% from the previous season. The top three exported varieties in week 52 were Prime Seedless, Early Sweet and Tawny Seedless.

Strong winds and equipment breakdowns had reportedly impacted operational efficiency at the Cape Town Container Terminal over the preceding several weeks. Although ship-to-shore cranes were operational and two berths were in use, port productivity remained suboptimal.

At the time of the update, all five primary table grape production regions in South Africa were engaged in packing operations, with the Northern Provinces and Orange River regions expected to finish within the next three to four weeks.

The Northern Provinces region was packing Autumn Crisp, Sweet Globe and Crimson varieties. Despite rainfall over the Christmas weekend, the harvest was reported to be healthy with the grapes of good size, although the data suggested a slightly lower harvest than initially anticipated. Lower temperatures leading up to the harvest meant that the sugar content had increased slowly. However, favorable weather conditions were predicted for the foreseeable future.

The Orange River region was packing Thompson, Sweet Celebration and Timco varieties. The harvest was reported to be approximately 85% complete and set to be finished within the next four weeks. Despite some recent rain, the harvest was stated to be in good condition, and the satisfactory weather was forecast to continue.

All production areas in the Olifants River region had commenced packing. Early cultivars were 10–15% lighter than expected while mid-to-late season cultivars had matured a week earlier than last season. Warm local weather had facilitated coloring, and early reports indicated a good harvest.

Weather in the Berg River region had been predominantly warm and dry, and packing was progressing well. Some late cultivars had matured seven days later than last season, and cooler temperatures in September had resulted in lower berry weights with a potential impact on overall yields.

Harvests in the Hex River region were also progressing well, with reports indicating high-quality grapes of good size. The region had benefited from cooler nighttime temperatures conducive to coloration, and a good harvest was expected.

Image: Unsplash

This article was based on a Chinese article. Read the original article.

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