South African table grape exports to end above earlier forecasts
In its final crop estimate for the season, The South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) has said that "very favorable" weather conditions are contributing towards an expected healthy crop of about 65.4 million cartons.
This compares to the previous estimate of the campaign of 62.8-63.8 million cartons.
"SATI is happy that the local table grape industry is in a favourable position, especially after last year’s drought and hot weather," the organization said.
However, it cautioned that it was better to view this year’s harvest in the context of the 3.7% average compound growth rate over five years (calculated to include this year’s crop).
It explained this year's harvest "does not show a huge increase but rather reflects a return to the normal growth pattern of the local table grape industry."
"Conditions were much more favourable and the best seen in many years with very little to no rain in most of the five production areas during the crucial harvesting period," SATI said.
"While we had hot days, the nights were cooler, which aided colour development in red and black varieties. This contributed to a return to normal berry size and weight and even better quality and taste, a hallmark of South African table grapes."
The bulk of the crop and large volumes have already been harvested and exported, and the association is expecting "normal volumes" for the remainder of the harvesting season.
The Northern Provinces region completed harvesting and ended on 5.5 million cartons. The Orange River region, one of the largest table grape production regions, ended on 20.5 million cartons.
The Olifants River region is nearly done with packing and is expected to end with about 4 million cartons.
Harvesting in the Berg River region will continue for a few more weeks while this region is expected to end on about 14.9 million cartons.
The Hex River region, which is still experiencing good weather, is expected to end on about 20.5 million cartons.