Rains to render some Peruvian table grapes unfit for export

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Rains to render some Peruvian table grapes unfit for export

The head of the Peruvian Table Grape Produers Association (Provid) says evaluations are ongoing into the impacts of recent rain and flooding in the key growing region of Ica, but fortunately the season was on its last legs when the weather event hit. 

"The situation has thankfully been in the last two weeks of production. If the 'huaicos' [landslides/mudslides] had have been 15 days or a month earlier it would have been much worse," Provid general manager Carlos Zamorano tells Fresh Fruit Portal

"There are different scenarios," he adds.

Some companies had finished grape harvests, others sped up picking to finish up the season early when they saw rains were coming, while less lucky growers either had flooded packhouses that meant fruit had to be moved to other coolstores, or they still had grapes on the vines.

In the last case Zamorano says the rains have led to spots on some grapes, as well as cases of fungus due to excess humidity.

However, the executive does not expect this to have serious ramifications for exports.

"There could be some companies that have had an important impact, but it’d be specific cases. In the case of the table grape sector, there shouldn’t be any big impacts," he says.

"I think in a couple of weeks we’ll be able to see how many boxes have been affected from the fruit that stayed on the vines.

"Some will still have characteristics of exportation, and others will have to stay in the domestic market."

He says a wide range of varieties were affected. Of course Red Globe has been the most affected as its Peru's key variety, but Zamorano notes a shift underway to new cultivars in the country.

When asked about potential structural damages to vineyards, Zamorano's response is "we'll have to wait and see".

"This is a phenomenon that has been much more radical than in other years – in other years we haven’t seen effects like this," he says.

"It’s a phenomenon that can be more serious in some years than others, but it happens regularly when rains occur in the jungle...but you have to note that this year had unusual strength.

"They [growers] are working firstly to save the campaign and resolve issues with workers - worker housing in surrounding areas - but if you refer to plantations the basic effort has to be with caring for where the river channels begin."

In terms of markets, Zamorano says after the previous season there has been a deviation of more fruit to the United States, which has helped recovery in the Chinese market.

"We are expecting growth of 10-12% compared to the previous season, and later we will be able to calculate the damage from the mudslides."

The industry head is also hopeful for a Japanese market opening this year, but table grape growers will have to wait for the finalization of a citrus access arrangement before they can move ahead in the line.

"The Japanese market is the most important that we have to open – we are waiting for them to finish the phytosanitary processes for the opening," he says, clarifying the goal is to have a protocol based on cold treatment.

"Recently recently there was a visit from the Dominican Republic, some attempts from Argentina – as always, we see movement. 

"Businesspeople continue to have confidence to invest, and despite what we’ve suffered these last two weeks, we will continue to be a robust growth industry."

Photo: www.shutterstock.com




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