Argentine grape growers predict depressed exports
Argentina's smaller growers fear grape exports could drop by 30% due to sharp rises in labor costs, harvesting and packaging, website Diariodecuyo.com.ar reported.
Grower enterprise New Haven representative Arturo Olivares, estimated the cost of these three items has risen by 30% and said they accounted for three quarters of overall production costs, the story reported.
"I was going to prepare 40 or 50 hectares for export grapes but decided finally on about 20. There will be varieties that will be used for raisins and some to make wine, all Red Globe varieties will be exported, but the margins will be very tight,'' he was quoted as saying.
He said Argentine growers faced stiff export competition from Chile and South Africa, which had the advantage of not having to pay the same internal taxes.
His views were reflected by food producer Leviand commercial manager Maximiliano Turcumán, who described the export market as complicated given the U.S. and Europe's economic problems.
"We don't know who will buy, the picture is not good. But here the big problem is our very high internal costs. The cost of fresh grape labor is higher than any other fruit," he was quoted as saying.
High inflation was another major issue cited.
However, exporter Patagonian Fruits Trade executive Enrique Ahún was less pessimistic.
"I don't think there will be a drastic reduction in exports, but it is true that it will be difficult to have the volumes that occurred in 2006 and 2008," he was quoted as saying.
He added that the picture would be clearer once harvesting started over a month's time.