Pandol's Brazilian grape program 'trending down'

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Pandol's Brazilian grape program 'trending down'

Fruit distributor Pandol has forecast a downward trend for Brazilian grapes in the U.S. market, following increased volumes of Californian late green seedless varieties.

Pandol VP of sales and marketing Scott Reade has told the late California deal could increasingly overlap with Brazilian supply.

"Brazil is the first country to typically bring in green seedless grapes, so as a general trend as we see more boxes of late California green seedless come onto the market in the coming years, it’ll put more pressure on the Brazilian fruit, so it might be a tougher market for Brazil in the future," he says.

"Our Brazil program is trending down, so we’ll need to see what happens with that. I think the costs in Brazil are higher obviously than in the U.S. and Chile, so it’ll be a matter of how much fruit is available in Brazil’s window and out of California, and what opportunity the window holds.

Brazilian Fruit Institute (IBRAF) agronomist Cloves Ribeiro Neto, says there isn't too much concern about the issue now but that could change in the future.

"Our harvest period is very short with all the crop in about three weeks, which is very quick. I don’t think there are any worries in the immediate term but in the future I see concern," he says.

"I don'’t  believe there will be a very large overlap with U.S. supply."

Brazil's climate is such that it has two harvest periods during the year, with the first semester in May and the second around October. Ribeiro Neto says weather issues caused serious problems in the first semester this year, but the second half is looking more promising.

"In Brazil we have suffered severe climatic problems that affected grapes this year so in the first semester we supplied the local market, but in the second half when we concentrate on exports in November and December we'll have better prices - we will not have problems with the climate and our crop is very good, it’s going well.

As competition grows, Brazil is increasingly looking to export to the Middle East and new markets in Europe.

"We exported 4,900 metric tons (MT) of fruit to Arabic countries last year, and while that volume’s still low, we have a trend of increasing volumes. We still only shipped 80MT of grapes to the region last year.

"We have market consolidation in Europe and we’re looking to increase volumes this year to our existing markets, and their neighboring countries like Poland and Russia. We're also looking to export more to Canada and Mercosur (Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay)."

The U.S. is Brazil's third-largest grape export market, with volumes of around 13,000 metric tons (MT) last year. The biggest Brazilian grape buyer is the Netherlands with purchases of around 26,000MT last year, followed by the U.K. with 13,000MT.

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