Peru: Low temperatures delaying Red Globe shipments to China, says Ecosac -

Peru: Low temperatures delaying Red Globe shipments to China, says Ecosac

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Peru: Low temperatures delaying Red Globe shipments to China, says Ecosac

Excessively low temperatures in one of Peru's key table grape-growing regions have resulted in a darker coloring of Red Globes than desired in the Chinese market, according to Ecosac. 

A representative of the major grower based in the northern Piura region said producers in the area had been experiencing some of the coldest mornings in decades over recent weeks.

Speaking to Fresh Fruit Portal at last week's Amsterdam Produce Show, Ecosac commercial director Gerd Burmester said the company would typically have started exporting the variety to China in late October but shipments were yet to start this year.

"We've been having very cold mornings, the coldest in the last 50 years," he said.

"So that is not helping with the red color. It's very dark, much darker than normal. That is not liked in China - they like a light cherry red color."

He said that on the traditional scale of 1-5, the Chinese market preferred Red Globes with a color of 2-3 - which Burmester said Ecosac was able to achieve during normal years - but this season the coloring is in the range of 2.5-4.

"We are hoping for sunnier days with higher temperatures in the mornings and I hope that helps with the color," he said, adding there was still some time left as Red Globes were typically harvested until late December.

He believed the low temperatures were the result of a particularly strong coastal El Niño weather phenomenon.

Earlier in the year northern Peru was severely affected by heavy rains and humidity, which in turn led to a higher prevalence of powdery mildew and a huge drop in production from the region.

Burmester said Ecosac had only around 60% of the table grape volume it did last year. North American importers last month also indicated they were expecting significantly reduced year-on-year exports from northern Peru.

On a positive note, Burmester said the fruit quality had surpassed expectations and was very good this year, which was helping to compensate for the volume drop in terms of prices to a limited degree.

Ecosac has been shipping seedless grapes into Europe over recent weeks, making the most of the supply gap that comes after the Italian and Spanish seasons but before Namibia and South Africa ramp up exports. Market conditions are reported to be strong at the moment.

"The Italians finished a bit earlier than normal and there is less fruit from Piura. South Africa and Namibia are about one week late so that is giving us a nice space to sell well. There are good prices but it is impossible to compensate for a 40% volume drop," he said.

The company has been greatly increasing its plantings of seedless grape varieties, which now represent the majority of shipments to continental European and U.K. markets. 

It also recently began shipped seedless varieties to the U.S. market, which is expected to see lower domestic supply levels than last year largely as a result of excessive heat in California over the summer.

Burmester said prices in the U.S. were looking strong at present, but that "you never know until the end" how things will turn out.

Ecosac has previously carried out trial shipments of seedless grapes to the Chinese market but said that there would not be any consignments this year as a result of the lower available supply.

The company grows varieties licensed by some of the world's top breeders, including SunWorld, IFG and SNFL. 

Burmester said that next year the company is hoping to plant AutumnCrisp by SunWorld, a branded variety that he said was relatively new in Peru, and also mentioned that Scarlotta had shown excellent resistance to mold this year and had not seen any drop in volumes.

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