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EU retailers have to find right price points for grapes in early January

Sila Louw, sales and marketing specialist at AMC Fruit, says that this time of the year the EU and the UK are usually a very favourable trading environment for South African grapes, and particularly so this season. “European volumes ended two weeks earlier than usual, early volumes from Peru are down due to floods and Brazilian stock by and large through by the end of November.”

He continues that with the delay in Orange River grapes, grape growers in the Northern Region (centred around Groblersdal and Marble Hall, Limpopo) had a “buoyant” European market mostly to themselves. 

“We waited a very long time for the sugar to develop in grapes in the Orange River and now with stronger volumes going out in week 50, week 51, EU retailers will have to find the right price points in order to keep sales momentum during the early part of January."

“There’s traditionally a bit of a fall after Christmas. The question is: what will the right level be?”

AMC Fruit are currently sending out white seedless Prime, Sugraone and Thompson, and red seedless Flame and Magenta, sourced from Namibia and, since last week, the Orange River region. Next week Ralli will start; overall red seedless production has doubled since 2012/13, with strong growth across all main production areas.

Far East awaits Sugraone
From the Far East there have been enquiries into the imminent Sugraone harvest, expected to start this week in the Orange River region. “At the moment the Far Eastern market isn’t really strong for white seedless because there are still a lot of white seedless from the USA on the market and some quality issues. They’re not that big on Prime. However, we expect that by the time the US leaves and we start coming in, beginning next year, the Sugraone will slot in nicely.” 

Still some valuable seeded varieties
“You find in the Western Cape that there are farmers who hold on to certain seeded varieties, like Victoria which gives yield tonnage to a farmer at a price that justifies its place on the farm. There is still some demand for seeded varieties from Europe. Two countries that come to mind are Germany, that takes and also re-directs some seeded varieties like Victoria to Eastern European countries. The other market for seeded varieties is Spain, the Barcelona Wholesale Market, but there it’s about colour, regardless of whether it’s seeded or not. They are looking for a large grape with a yellowish colour.”

AMC Fruit, part of the Muñoz Group, concentrates on the UK retail sector and also European supermarkets in its grape trade. Volumes are also channelled to Russia, where white seedless has performed quite well during the past two weeks, the Far and Middle East and Canada, to avoid being too dependent on the European market, as good as it is at the moment.

For more information:
Sila Louw
AMC Fruit
Tel: +27 21 851 1234

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