Argentine raisin exports to rise 42% this year

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Argentine raisin exports to rise 42% this year

Argentina's raisin exports are expected to rise 42% to 33,000 metric tons (MT) in crop year (CY) 2011, according to a United State's Department of Agriculture (USDA) report.

A USDA Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report said the expected increase comes from higher production, which is forecast to grow with stronger yields and new vines entering production.

Exports are predicted to rise to 35,000MT in CY2012, while the country's biggest export markets are currently Brazil (74%), the European Union (5.5%), Colombia (4.2%), Taiwan (2.8%), the Dominican Republic (2.7%) and the U.S. (1.7%).

In 2010 Argentina's raisin export shipments reached US$46.86 million.

The report said the U.S. consumed less raisins than expected in that year, as production fell for Thompson variety grapes.

"One of the main challenges for the Argentine raisin sector is to increase production to supply international demand focusing on becoming more efficient in improving yields. Another challenge producers currently face is high import tariffs established for Argentine raisins in some export markets," the report said.

"Private investments in the raisin sector have been increasing during the past few years, and are primarily national capital. Investments were not only devoted to primary production, but also to the incorporation of new technology focusing on obtaining larger raisin volumes for processing and a higher-quality, more competitive product, to supply export markets."

Around 95% of Argentine raisins are produced in the northwestern province of San Juan, while the main grapes destined for raisin production are the Fiesta and Flame Seedless varieties, which the report said were attracting new investments in processing technology and storage facilities.

"Fiesta is a new variety of U.S. origin, which was recently introduced with very good yields, adaptability,  and drying handling. It is estimated that there are currently abound 500 hectares of the Fiesta variety planted in the San Juan province, and the area will continue to increase in the near future," the report said.

Argentina's total raisin production is expected to rise to 40,000MT in CY2012.

Photo: Via Rural

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