South African table grape exports finish on a high
South Africa exported a record 54.621 million 4.5 kilogram (kg) cartons of table grapes this season thanks to the biggest crop since deregulation in 1997, according to the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI).
Northern Europe accounted for 55% of exports followed by the U.K. at 21%, the Far East at 13% and the Middle East at 6%.
The U.K. showed a 35% year-on-year rise at 11,393,896 cartons and Northern Europe a 17% rise at 29,861,172.
Out of the emerging markets Russia posted a 21% year-on-year rise at 1,116,741 cartons, while the rest of Europe (non-Northern Europe, non-U.K. and non-Russia) showed a 11% decline at 748,354 cartons.
Other important growth markets included African countries which showed a 51% year-on-year increase at 464,612 cartons and the Indian Ocean Islands a 25% rise at 307,088 cartons.
White seedless grapes continued as the largest variety exported at 18,943,277 cartons, with red seedless second at 13,539,930, followed by red seeded (5,987,864), black seeded (5,310,644), white seeded (5,180,691) and black seedless (4,402,934).
New regulations for grapes sent to the local market came into force this month requiring fruit to be categorized as 'Class 1' for top quality, followed by 'Class 2' and finally the 'Lowest Class' to help ensure minimum standards.
"This heralds a new era in terms of ensuring that the quality of fruit being sold locally conforms to certain minimum requirements," said SATI.
"It is also an important step to ensure that no dumping of substandard fruit from importing countries can take place in South Africa, as the Regulation is also applicable to imported grapes."
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