The South African Table Grape Industry in it's bi-weekly Joint Table Grape Marketing Forum with the first Northern Provinces Region grapes arriving in markets while grape farms in the Orange River Region had no damage after recent Orange River floods.
The Northern Regions first export grapes arrived in markets this week. Product was well received, with good sales stats & good market appetite reported. Earlier variety volumes will be lower than anticipated. Weather during week 48 was very good, some rain is expected during week 49. Overall, berry size, health & quality are very good. Good outlook for mid-season varieties. Punnet shortage is currently a big challenge
Quality in the Orange River Region is good. The Orange River is back to acceptable levels & we are happy to share that no damage to table grapes was reported. Cultivars are earlier this season due to climate conditions. Red cultivars are colouring nicely due to cooler weather at night. Certain areas experienced some warmer weather, which has delayed colouring in certain cultivars. Earlier cultivars' volumes have decreased compared to last season. Current indications are that the crop estimate for the region should still be achieved, but may be closer to the lower limit of the estimate. Berry size & quality are very good.
Namibian harvest volumes are higher than forecast due to their season starting early.
Market Trends, Logistics & Shipping
Large quantities of cherries are expected in China around Christmas & New Year. With Peru exporting more grapes to the USA, competition in that market has increased. Market insights indicate that focusing on retail programmes is still prudent. Early indications are that consumer demand may be lower in Europe.
To date, logistics processes are working well & it’s important to ensure maximum possible exposure for SA grapes during weeks 44-47. Cape Town Port operations are at an acceptable level, with indications that the port is working faster to resolve challenges. Cape Town port management has confirmed that it will remain fully operational throughout the holiday period, only closing on Christmas day.
Shipping liner trends indicate that markets have softened between September & October, however, they remain uneven. Market conditions are expected to continue softening during 2022/2023.
Overall, a positive outlook with a more stable shipping pricing future for the fruit industry prevails. Bunker prices have started stabilising & reduced in Europe which correlates with SA’s marketing window; improved equipment supply is being observed; demand size is decreasing with more ships available and a continual improvement in costs is expected as the 2022-year progresses.