The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has forecast Australia’s table grape production in the 2018-19 season to rise by 18% to 200,000 metric tons (MT).
It attributed the increase to more favorable weather conditions, higher yields and a larger harvest area.
Exports are forecast at 137,000MT, having risen by 3 percent in the previous season to 110,000MT.
China was the leading export destination with 41,000MT last year, followed by Indonesia with 16,000MT.
Exports comprise almost 70% of production in recent years and are likely to grow further with the impending removal of Chinese tariffs, the report said.
Under the China-Australia FTA (ChAFTA), tariffs on table grapes will be phased down from 5% to zero in 2019.
China also officially recognized Riverina as a fruit fly free area in 2016, allowing growers in the area to export their fruit without the need to undertake costly fruit fly pre-harvest and postharvest protocol treatments.
The planted area is forecasted to expand to 12,000 hectares in 2018-19, up 9% year-on-year, in anticipation of higher yields and an expanded harvest area.
Australia is now the tenth-largest table grape exporter globally.