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South African early table grape export volumes trending lower than last season

The South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) held the first bi-weekly marketing forum meeting for the 2022-2023 season, noting that early export volumes will be less than last season. 

Regional Updates
The Northern Provinces had a reasonable start to the season. Volumes are expected to decrease in comparison to last season. There has been a stronger focus on the local market in the first few weeks. Rain in weeks 44 - 46 slowed progress slightly due to an overall focus on packing only the best quality grapes for export markets.

Packing in the Orange River has started with cooler temperatures currently being experienced, assisting with colouring. The harvest is expected to be smaller as a result of producers not preparing certain cultivars for export due to market conditions. 

Marketing, Logistics and Climate
Logistics execution has improved, with processes being more streamlined with effective communication between stakeholders in place. Currently it would seem sufficient containers and vessels are available. Significant cost increases in the table grape value chain are placing producers under pressure, with average direct production costs having increased by more than 16%. Noteworthy is the long-term structural change in supply from South Africa which is influenced by cultivars, overall crop size & market conditions.

To date, Peru is shipping more grapes to North America, mostly driven by a strong US Dollar, relative to prices that can be achieved in Europe. All indications are that there will be strong demand for grapes up until Christmas & possibly into the early part of the new year.

The Orange River is currently in flood. This is not anticipated to have a significant impact on table grape production, however it may affect irrigation.

Lower than average temperatures have been experienced over the last year, however this is expected to change from Jan/Feb 2023 when the current La Nina weather cycle is expected to end. For summer rainfall regions this is good news, as drier conditions are expected from Jan/Feb 2023 for the second part of the season. According to meteorologist, Johan van den Bergh, summer rainfall areas have received more rain this year than the average received over the last 5 years, due to the current La Nina cycle.

For more information:
AJ Griesel
South African Table Grape Industry
Tel: +27 21 863 0366
Email: [email protected]   

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