Lower production due to climatic influence. Lower demand and greater competition for Murcian grapes

"The demand for table grapes so far this year has been a bit lower than usual"

The table grape campaign has already passed its halfway point in the Spanish Region of Murcia, the main producing area of this fruit in Spain, and it has so far been marked by difficulties due to the impact of the weather on the crops, the low demand and the high competition from other Mediterranean countries.

"We are already more than half way through the campaign, since we started at the beginning of July," said Antonio Caballero, manager of Frutas Torero. Although the harvest started late, the high temperatures during the summer have changed the course of the campaign and will bring an end to it earlier. If the weather does not take a major turn, we expect there to be no significant volumes of grapes left to sell by the end of October."

According to the producer and exporter, the rains in April and the heat waves in June and July led to poor fruit setting, causing significant volumes of grapes to be lost and affecting the quality in the first part of the season. "Red grapes were particularly affected in terms of volume and quality, although white grapes did not fare a lot better. Therefore, this year we estimate that Murcia's grape production will fall by between 20 and 30%."

Antonio Caballero said that the demand this year has been considerably lower than usual, while there has been greater competition from Egypt, Italy and Greece. "This is probably due to the current socio-economic context, as consumers are being affected by inflation, and this is having an impact on purchasing decisions for products considered 'more luxurious', such as table grapes. Besides, competition from Egypt at the beginning of the season is still strong, although Italy is hurting us more this season. Apparently, Italy has had a great harvest this year and has shipped large volumes to European markets at prices against which we cannot compete. We don't know how they are managing to sell so cheaply, but they have secured most of the programs from German distribution chains."

Regarding shipments outside the EU, Murcian exporters are sending quite a lot, given the stagnant demand in Europe. The most popular overseas countries are Malaysia, South Africa and Saudi Arabia. However, freight rates are really expensive this year, and arrivals at destination are being delayed, which represents a major risk and generates uncertainty as to the state in which the goods will arrive; a problem that has already affected Chile and Peru during their campaigns," said Antonio Caballero.

Frutas Torero expects to reach a production of between 4 and 5 million kilos this year. "In the last two years, we have expanded our acreage, replacing stone fruit with table grapes while also replacing the most obsolete varieties with new ones. Next year, provided we have ideal growing conditions, we could produce close to 8 million kilos of grapes," said Antonio Caballero.

This year, the company has already put the new 12,500-square-meter warehouse it bought in January in operation. "We have only used it for the stone fruit campaign, as the handling of table grapes is still done in our usual plant, which is located just one kilometer away from the new plant."


For more information:
Antonio Caballero Palazón
Frutas Torero
Avenida constitución 15.
30550 Abarán, Murcia. Spain
T: +34 968 451 536

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