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Currently, the South African grape season is as good as over, and the largest part of South America's production has already been shipped. India is still on the market and Egypt is ready to start. In various production countries, the acreage devoted to table grapes has expanded. The most noteworthy case in this regard is that of Spain, which has carried out a lot of new plantings.

South Africa
The season in South Africa is over. There have been ups and downs for the growers during the campaign. Namibia had a good harvest, despite concerns about the drought and then too much rain, and there was also a threat of hail. Moreover, the exchange rate is a constant concern for the country. There were several challenges in each area. The production of the red varieties was good, but prices were under pressure. The Crimson did well in general. In South Africa they are constantly working with new breeds, especially many late red varieties.

The export of Indian grapes started in November with the early Thompson. These shipments went mainly to Russia from January and to Europe. Due to the cold, the Brix levels were relatively low at the beginning. The volume going to Russia is still small, but there has been some growth. A great volume was exported to Europe. In the beginning there were high prices, but the market collapsed in March. There were also reports of quality issues. India wants to make grape growers acquainted with new varieties in order to gain access to new export markets. The export volume to China has grown. India exported to Europe from November last year and delivered a considerable volume. Prices have stood at very low levels, but have found their way up again.

The Chilean table grape sector had a disappointing start this year, with a campaign that began much earlier than usual. This bad start was partly due to the weather, which resulted in too many grapes ending up in storage and a reduction of prices. Another important reason is the competition with Peruvian grapes. Peru exports to the same customers as Chile. For example, the US is an important market for both. Peru is quite new to the world market and has considerably expanded the acreage and introduced new varieties in recent years.

The grape harvest kicked off a few weeks later than usual, giving Chile a chance to supply the Japanese and Korean markets. There are great prospects in China, as this country is willing to pay a good price. Australia will export 15 to 20% less this season, partly due to the impact of hail. The domestic price has also been good, which means that grapes are preferentially marketed locally. Rain is now expected in Australia, and this may also take a toll on the supply and quality.

The focus in Turkey lies in particular on watermelons and stonefruit. It is expected that the first grapes will arrive around June. The main variety will be harvested around August or September. Turkish grapes have increased in popularity in recent years. More specifically, Europe is asking for more. Given that Russia is closed, Turkey is increasingly focusing on Europe.

In Israel, the season is successful if it starts early, thus filling the window between India and Italy, Spain and Egypt. Over the last two years, the Indian season has finished quite early, so Israeli exporters have been able to get a good price for a month. The same situation is expected again this year. At present, it is still difficult to make predictions, as India is still supplying enough volumes. The grapes look fine, but the weather conditions were not ideal during the growing process. This means that grapes will only be available from week 21. High prices are expected for the first shipments.

China's domestic grape production is estimated at 10.2 million tonnes, 600,000 tonnes more than last season. Exports are expected to be 50% higher this year. There is a lot going to Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. It is also expected that imports will grow by around 20%. China buys its grapes from countries like Australia, Chile, Peru and the US. South African and Peruvian grapes are available until spring. The domestic production has just started. Yunnan's first small batches are already on the market.

At the moment, there are grapes from Mexico and California available on the US market. There are also some volumes from Chile, but that season is almost finished. Supermarkets in the US increasingly demand greater volumes of seedless grapes from Chile. The Chilean season has been good and marked by stability, despite the heavy rain. The volume available on the US market is getting smaller and this is resulting in price increases. Mexican grapes will be available in larger volumes from mid-May. Mexico is expected to have a greater production this year, with some new green varieties. From the second week of May there will also be grapes from California. The prospects are good.

Spain expects to harvest the first grapes in June this year. The cold temperatures at night are ideal for the fruit's development. During the day, it is warmer and that is a good combination for crop. The setting is good. Spain is becoming more and more important when it comes to grapes. Murcia has become the main table grape supplier and accounts for 90% of the total. This year, a total of ​​6,000 hectares have been planted. After Murcia, Alicante is also becoming an important producing region. Last year, Spain exported nearly 160,000 tonnes of grapes. Most of these went to Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Outside the EU, Norway is the main buyer. China will also soon be opening up for Spanish grapes, and the prospects there are great. There has also been a huge increase in Spain when it comes to the import of grapes. Consumption is growing considerably. In Spain, the fruit used to be considered a seasonal product, but there is a growing appreciation for imported grapes. When it comes to South African grapes, the quality of the fruit has been variable this season. India, on the other hand, has made huge improvements in terms of quality, according to Spanish importers.

Imported grapes come mainly from South Africa and Chile. Prices reach around 14 Euro per package. Table grapes in the Ventoux region have suffered considerable damages; estimates point to about 70% of the total. There is not much production in France.

The Netherlands
The market for Indian grapes is recording massive growth. A huge volume of grapes arrived, which caused dramatic price drops. The grape market is now running low and prices for punnets stand between 7 and 8 Euro. The South African season is already over and most of the volumes from South America (Chile/Peru) have already arrived. There is some more demand for Red Globe. At present, the Egyptian harvest is just starting with the prospect of a good production. Also, the first Italian grapes should hit the market in mid-May.

Italy - Sicily
In Sicily, the first grapes of the varieties Victoria, Black Magic and seedless Superior are expected between 15 and 20 May. The volumes are still small. Exports kick off in week 23. The main customers are Arab countries. Exports may also go to Canada this year. Sicily expects a good season.

Every week, FreshPlaza and AGF.nl publish an overview of the market situation of a product in a global context. With these articles we aim to provide a view of a global market shrinking due to globalisation.

Publication date: 4/28/2017
Author: Gertrude Snoei
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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