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South African Table Grape Season Wrapping Up on Strong Exports

February 29, 2024

South African Table Grape Industry announced in a recent newsletter that the current production season is expected to end earlier than last year, when it concluded in week 14. As of week 6 of this year, over three-quarters of the entire season’s packing work had been completed. In total, 59.5 million cartons (4.5 kilograms per carton) had been inspected for export, accounting for 78% of the expected volume and representing an 18% increase compared with the same point of last year. Meanwhile, total exports had reached 46.6 million cartons, marking a 19% year-on-year increase.

Because of Chinese New Year falling three weeks later this year than it did in 2023, a larger quantity of South African table grapes entered the market at the beginning of the year. Consequently, some Peruvian table grapes were redirected to other markets in Southeast Asia, thereby exerting pressure on Chinese importers. Forecasts suggest that the volume of Australian table grapes on the Chinese market will rise over the next two weeks.

South Africa is continuing to employ a diversified export strategy for its table grapes in an effort to alleviate the logistical pressures encountered at the Port of Cape Town. As of week 6, a total of 4.7 million cartons of grapes had been diverted from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, corresponding to 10% of the total export volume, despite this meaning higher costs. Another strategy adopted this season has been the export of grapes via conventional vessels, which had accounted for an additional 10% of total exports as of week 6.

The Northern Provinces region has now completed packing, with production exceeding the expected 5.8 million cartons by 130,000 cartons (2%). This region has experienced a bountiful harvest with large grapes of good quality, resulting in positive market feedback. Meanwhile, the final few areas of the Orange River region were expected to finish packing by the end of week 7. Total production in this region exceeded the original estimate by 14.2% to reach 24.1 million cartons.

Production in the Olifants River region was expected to surpass the initially predicted 3.4 million cartons by approximately 10%. At the time of writing the newsletter, the inspected volume had exceeded 3.5 million cartons and packing work was expected to be complete by the end of week 8. The warm days and cool nights in the area were reported to have helped with the development of grape color and sugar content. Despite shipping delays, grape quality reportedly remained good on arrival.

The Berg River region has also experienced a successful season, with high quality reported for cultivars such as Sweet Globe, Autumn Crisp and Sweet Celebration. Harvesting was expected to be over 7–10 days earlier than last year. Current data indicate that the total production in this region should be close to the estimated 19.1 million cartons.

The Hex River region was also anticipated to finish packing earlier than last year. Despite localized hailstorms in week 6, a good overall harvest and positive market feedback were reported.

Image: Pixabay

This article was translated from Chinese. Read the original article.

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