South Africa grape exports top 6 million cartons
South African grape exporters have shipped nearly 6.5 million cartons of grapes as of week 49 with the majority heading to Northern Europe and the U.K., according to the South African Table Grape Industry Association (SATI).
The total soars above the some 2.8 million cartons shipped through week 49, 2009. However SATI says this is mostly due to the two week early start of the harvest this year.
The majority of shipments have headed to Northern Europe, which received a 56% share of the total. The U.K. is the second largest destination, receiving 32% of exports. This represents a drop for U.K. receivers, which as of the same time in 2009 had received 49% of exports, while Northern Europe absorbed 47% of the total.
Shipments to the Middle East and Asia have increased slightly. This year the Middle East holds a share of approximately 3% but last year the region did not even represent a full percentage point of exports. Far East countries have also increased their share to some 5% compared with 1.5% last year.
THE HARVEST ADVANCES
In South Africa’s Northern Province Region Red Globe and Crimson Seedless are being harvested 2 weeks ahead of time. The quality reported is very good, according to SATI. The harvest in this region is expected to wrap up in week 2 for Red Globe and week 3 for Crimson.
The Orange River Region has started packing Thompson Seedless in early harvest areas, which will most likely wrap up by the end of week 51. The rest of the region is packing Sugarone, while Flame Seedless is being packed in later harvesting areas.
In the Olifants River Region, rain on Dec. 16 disrupted the packing of Flame Seedless and Prime, causing damage to both the fruit (berry burst) and infrastructure. Irrigation channels were particularly affected. The SATI estimates the loss to be at least 100,000 cartons.
Rain also halted packing in the Berg River Region, although there was no significant damage to the fruit. Most growers will be packing from week 52 and onward.
In the Hex Valley Region the Dec. 16 rainfall caused light berry burst damage on Flame Seedless. The first grapes from this area are expected to be harvested in week 51.