Freight tariffs and container availability could make for an "interesting" season

South Africa's new grape harvest kicks off in the north

The first Early Sweet white seedless grapes and Starlight red seedless grapes are cut in the Loskop Valley of Limpopo Province where the thermometer reaches 37°C today, marking the start of South Africa's 2021/2022 grape campaign.

Right: early Starlight grapes packed today at KDB Farm in the Loskop Valley of Limpopo Province

Not all of the grape farms in the area will start today; some will kick off next week.

A crop estimate of between 7.7 million and 8.3 million 4.5kg cartons are expected from this area.

The earliest grapes are largely destined for local retail and the local market where imported grapes are currently trading at approximately R82 (4.6 euros) per kilogram. 

Small volumes of Namibia's earliest grapes will also be picked this week, with the main Aussenkehr harvest expected in the week of 15 November.

Concerns over container availability to the East
The grape season is going to be "interesting", remarks a Limpopo Province grape producer. "There's anything between US$300 and US$1,200 difference in freight tariffs for the different markets. We're hoping the freight increases will be more towards the lower range, but this necessitates a lot of planning ahead."

The earliest red seedless grapes of the new grape campaign, Starlight (photos supplied by KDB Farm)

Container availability is currently looking better for Europe but exporters are expecting pressure on the availability of equipment for the trade routes to the Middle East and the Far East.



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