Peru: Northern grape growers turn focus to seedless varieties

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Peru: Northern grape growers turn focus to seedless varieties

Table grape producers from northern Peru are readying their harvests for the coming season, amid expectations for higher volumes of seedless varieties and uncertainty over El Niño.shutterstock_109505768

Agro Exportaciones Grace general manager Kai Krogh told the fruit was coming along well, but earlier rains than normal could complicate matters.

"We're still not quite sure what's going to happen with the grapes when the El Niño phenomenon arrives. We have a lot of white seedless grapes which tend to be more affected by rain," he said.

"We are based in Piura, and typically the rains come around January, February and March. Now with El Niño the rains may arrive around December and extend until April. We will have to see."

He added the company's harvest would likely begin around late October, with the fruit due to arrive in the U.S. toward the end of November.

In addition, he said higher volumes would be shipped to North America this year due to weather issues in California that may shorten local growers' marketing season.

Exports will continue to China, but Krogh explained the company's focus was on market diversification rather than one destination in particular.

"China is usually for our premium fruit which we know will sell well," he said.

"Last year we shipped three containers and got reasonable returns on them. I've heard other producers are sending a lot more fruit, but we’re trying to diversify."

Agro Exportaciones Grace also expects production to shoot up from 180,000 boxes last year to 300,000 boxes, with all of the increase represented by white seedless varieties.

"We are only focused on boosting seedless production, not Red Globes," he said.

"When the industry first began here in Piura only about five or six years ago it was almost entirely Red Globe, but now many growers are staring to favor seedless grapes."

A representative another table grape grower from northern Peru, Agricola Arantxa, said the uncertainty over El Niño meant some contracts had still not been closed.

"Here in the north we will likely be more heavily affected by the El Niño phenomenon, so whatever we can harvest before that will be sent straight to the markets," a representative from the logistics department said, adding the company was expecting a 10-12% production increase.

"This is the second campaign with new hectarage. Normally the first campaign doesn't see too much additional volumes, but this year we’re expecting a higher production," he said, adding 70% of production was made up of Red Globe and the remainder was Sweet Celebration.

Harvest is due to begin later this month, with the first fruit due to hit the U.S. market in late October, and Europe a few days later.


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