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AU: Late season leads to missed markets

The grape harvest in Australia's Sunraisia region started 3-4 weeks late, which led to Chile stepping in and taking some of the market share in Korea and Japan. Despite this, the majority of growers must be commended for not falling to the temptation of harvesting the grapes before they were at the ultimate quality, said Jeff Scott of the Australian Table Grape Association.

"We are in full export mode now and getting our normal export prices," explains Jeff. "But markets such as Korea and Japan have filled the gap with grapes from Chile which is a bit disappointing. Chile of course offers at a lower price. Saying that, the price we are getting from other countries is a lot higher, so there is not as much going to Korea or Japan at this stage. I expect that to change in the coming weeks

"China is very good and very strong, they are prepared to pay the price for high quality fruit. There is huge interest from Chinese importers, including many new ones from other provinces, we could not possibly supply all the enquiries that we get."

Australia will export 15-20% less this season partly due to a hail event which affected a few growers, but also because the domestic price has been good early on, so growers are happy to keep the grapes in the country.

The good domestic prices are due to Queensland having an average year concerning volumes, meaning there was no oversupply and then Sunraisia came in late, giving some of the early season varieties a very good price from the Australian supermarkets which, according to Jeff, was a very refreshing change.

There is also less cost involved in supplying the domestic market as no cold treatment is required and freight costs are minimal - there is also less risk and guaranteed payment.

"It is now full on harvest in Sunraisia, some growers have not started crimson yet and there is still a lot of fruit on the vines."

For more information:
Jeff Scott
Australian Table Grape Association Inc.
Tel: +61 35021 5718

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