The table grape campaign began in mid-June in the Region of Murcia, the main producer and exporter of this fruit in Spain. Murcia's table grapes are now faced with a market dominated by a higher volume of Egyptian grapes that have lasted longer in Europe this season. Even though the climatic instability of the last months has impacted the total volume of Murcia's production, the table grape sector has a favorable outlook marked by a lower volume of stone fruit throughout Europe, one of the fruits with which it competes.
According to Grupo Paloma, which specializes in early productions, the entry of their grapes into the European market has been delayed two weeks this year due to the strong presence of the Egyptian product. "Europe expected to receive our grapes starting the first week of July and there was a good demand, but this year the arrival has been delayed," stated David Franco, from the group's commercial department based in Mazarron. "It seems that Egyptian exports to other destinations have been limited because of the pandemic, so they have focused their offer on the European continent, extending their campaign by a couple of weeks."
Egypt is one of the countries that has gained more prominence in the fruit and vegetable exporting segment in recent years. They have had outstanding growth in exports of table grapes, as well as in other references, such as citrus or tropical fruits. "Egypt, just as Morocco, has a determined policy to develop its agriculture that is favoring the exponential growth of the sector," stated David Franco. "The Spanish sector doesn't stagnate. It specializes, becomes more and more professional. We continuously improve everything we do so we remain competitive."
In fact, the Spanish table grape has managed to maintain its position in the international calendar thanks to the specialization and varietal development that the sector has had in the last 10 years. "That window isn't only due to the climate or the area where we produce, it is also due to the quality and the varieties we produce," Franco stressed.
Grupo Paloma's table grape campaign will last until October / November. According to David Franco, they will harvest 5 to 6 million kilos of red and black seedless grapes from some 300 hectares this campaign, a volume similar to that of the previous campaign, which will mainly be sent to European markets. In addition to grapes, Grupo Paloma exports various varieties of tomato throughout Europe, and various fruit references, which allows it to continue their activities in the fields and warehouses, as well as maintaining a stable workforce.
According to David Franco, the exceptional situation that the market is going through due to the evolution of the pandemic, which has modified consumption trends at a global level, particularly impacting on some products, will not affect the table grape campaign in the short term because the situation has somewhat improved. “The first months of the pandemic were the hardest. Nobody knew what was happening, operations were awry, and the sector had to deal with orders on a daily basis. In this context of uncertainty, some products were sold more and others were consumed less. Now, things are much more stable. There is a lower degree of confinement in different countries and trade and distribution are more normalized. I think that consumption is actually quite stable. I honestly don't think there will be uncertainty in July and August. There is uncertainty about what will happen in autumn," he concluded.
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