South Africa's table grape crop estimate has been adjusted downwards to 63.6 million cartons (4.5 kg equivalent) that will be inspected for export. It is mainly due to a decrease in the estimate for the Hex River region. This can be ascribed to a lower yield on cultivars packed, and an expected lower yield for the remaining cultivars still to be packed in the country's largest region. 

National inspection volumes for week 8 amounted to 2.89 million cartons (4.5 kg equivalent), which is 45% lower than the same week in the previous season. Up to week 8, a total of 58.35 million cartons (4.5 kg equivalent) were inspected for export, which is 10% less than the previous season year to date.

A total of 44.56 million cartons (4.5 kg equivalent) have been exported, which is 19% lower than the previous season to date. 
The variance between volumes inspected and volumes exported is often due to vessels packing during one week and departing in the next. 

During week 8, the vessel carrying the largest volume of table grapes was the Santa Rita with 2.29 million cartons (4.5 kg equivalent) ETA London 10th March 2023.

Regional Updates
Up to week 8, the Olifants River Region recorded 2.96 million cartons (4.5 kg equivalent) inspected for export. This figure represents an 8% decrease in volume year to date. Feedback indicates that total volumes are expected to remain within the current crop estimate (3 million 4.5 kg equivalent cartons anticipated). Most of the region is expected to conclude packing in the next week. The last varieties being packed are Crimson and Autumn Crisp.

Varieties currently being packed in the Berg River Region include Autumn Crisp, Sweet Globe, Allison, Scarlotta and Adora Seedless. Packing is expected to conclude by week 11. Up to week 8 the region packed 16.76 million cartons (4.5 kg equivalent), which represents a 5% increase in volume year to date. Figures indicate that the region remains on track to achieve its latest crop estimate of 17.94 million cartons (4.5 kg equivalent).  

Packing continues in the Hex River Region, with a total of 16.64 million cartons (4.5 kg equivalent) inspected for export up to week 8. This figure represents a 5% increase in volume year to date. Mostly Autumn Crisp and Crimson varieties are currently being packed. Cooler temperatures during the day encourage good Crimson colouring. To date, arrival quality has received positive feedback.

Lower yields than initially anticipated are expected for this region, and its crop estimate has therefore been adjusted to 20.64 million cartons. This represents a 13.9% (3.33 million cartons 4.5 kg equivalent) decrease on the region’s previous estimate. 

Market Trends & Logistics - Global Market Insights

Presented by Pieter Karsten, Karsten Group

Supply and demand and a favourable exchange rate are contributing to competitive market prices currently being achieved, in some instances.  Clients are becoming more selective regarding product quality and cultivar choices. 

The current favourable exchange rate should not lead to complacency amongst producers. As the exchange rate can be volatile, it should not be relied on as a constant indicator. The overarching message is that producers should take responsibility for the quality of their own product. International competition regarding the quality of product is increasing.

Logistics Update 

Presented by Antoinette van Heerden, Logistical Affairs Manager at FPEF

During the month of February, the port of Cape Town recorded 205 hours of landside time lost due to wind and fog. This is higher than the 139 and 150 hours recorded in the previous two seasons. More vessel omissions have been observed over the last two weeks. Stakeholders continue to engage with Transnet regarding finding ways to streamline operations and increase efficiency.  

A workgroup between industries, Agbiz and Transnet is scheduled for the 6th of March 2023.  

For more information:
AJ Griesel
South African Table Grape Industry
Tel: +27 21 863 0366