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Mexico: Sonora's table grape production hits 17 million boxes

This year's production amounted to 17 million boxes. "It's a good year as in 2012 we reached 16 million and we've also had years with 11 million. This was a good year in terms of production, but not in price, as it has been slightly lower than expected due to the crisis and the high production, which has made placing the product harder," said Laborín Gomez, president of the Local Association of Table Grape Producers (AALPUM).

He explained that this also depended on the market and on the timeliness with which the product was placed: "There are producers who come out very early and get good prices, others don't; every variety and packaging has its own price," he said and the product's quality and the packaging offered to the market had a great influence on prices.

According to Gomez, their marketing depends, not only on the volume and the work they do, but "also on our direct competitor's product, such as the stone fruit. If they are down we have a better chance, if there is a lot of cheap cherry in the market things get complicated for us; it depends on the volume and quality we have."

He said the fruit's quality goes hand in hand with the climate and that grape growers have no expectations until April: "Things would be very similar to today because we are not increasing surface area, we've been replacing the old vineyards with new ones."

He explained that there were some vineyards that are chronologically young, because they were planted to produce 1,000 boxes and continue producing this amount after fifteen years, "but it is no longer profitable to produce 1,000 boxes, we have developed and imported technology to make that same vineyard produce 1,500 boxes so it's more profitable."

He said that 100% of the 12,000 acres of grapes planted in Sonora, primarily in the area of Pesqueira, Hermosillo, Caborca and Guaymas, where they are just starting, had technologically advanced irrigation systems. 80% of the production is obtained in Hermosillo.

Sonora produces about 95 % of the grapes at the national level, "we export 97%."


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