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South Africa’s Grape Exports Up 17% in 2023/24 Season

April 19, 2024

According to a recent newsletter by South African Table Grape Industry, the overall harvest for the 2023/24 season closely matched the revised production forecast, with 75.7 million cartons (4.5 kilograms per carton) inspected and a total export volume of 73.5 million cartons, corresponding to approximately 330,750 metric tons.

Jacques Ferreira, SATI’s commercial affairs manager, noted that the initial forecast of 73 million cartons was adjusted in January 2024 on account of higher-than-expected yields in the Orange River region. Overall, this season saw a 17% increase in South Africa’s table grape exports compared with last season. The top exported cultivars by growth this season included Ivory (+128%), Sweet Globe (+28%), Early Sweet (+24%) and Autumn Crisp (+20%).

Over the past decade, the South African table grape sector has reportedly maintained a 2.7% compound annual growth rate in terms of inspection volumes. The 2023/24 season ended 2–3 weeks earlier than last season owing to changing weather patterns and rainfall in the Hex River region during the mid-to-late season.

According to the vine census for the 2023/24 season, the table grape planting area in the Northern Provinces region decreased by 13% to 2,051 hectares. The Hex River region saw a 2% reduction to 6,240 hectares, while the Orange River region remained stable at 5,778 hectares. SATI expects that the total table grape planting area will stabilize at the current level of 19,800 hectares.

In terms of logistics, Ferreira highlighted the significant impact of delays with the vessels MSC Mattina and Santa Clara on grape exports during the 2023/24 season. Alternative ports were used to alleviate pressure at the Port of Cape Town, greatly assisting shipments to export markets. A total of 7.8 million cartons were exported through Port Elizabeth, accounting for 10.6% of the total export volume. Additionally, 7.1 million cartons were shipped via conventional vessels, corresponding to 9.6% of the total export volume. As a result, the combined export volume through the Cape Town Container Terminal and Maputo Port decreased by more than 5%, falling from 56.9 million cartons last season to 53.9 million cartons in 2023/24. In addition, 14 conventional vessels exported table grapes between week 48 of 2023 and week 13 of 2024, with two ships departing per week during weeks 4, 5, 6 and 9.

Image: Pixabay

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

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