Peruvian table grape exports to Europe are double the level they were this time last year, amid a strong recovery in industry production this season and challenging conditions in the U.S. market over recent months.
Carlos Zamorano of industry association Provid said that by week 1 the country had exported 31.5 million boxes of fruit, which is roughly how many boxes were shipped in the 2017-18 season that was heavily affected by rains associated with the El Niño weather phenomenon. He said there were at least two months remaining of the season.
While year-on-year exports until week 1 to Asia were up 46% and to North America 12%, to Europe they were 100% higher. However, Zamorano noted that the export campaign to the European market in particular last season was “very bad”.
“Last year was a distorting year,” he said, explaining that this season would be a continuation of the growth trend the industry had been experiencing until last year.
“We came from a growth period, we fell and now we’re making up for it and will return to the growth curve,” he said.
The industry forecast exports of around 40 million boxes before the season began, but Zamorano said the figure could end up as high as 42-45 million.
“I think that we are on course for that forecast. The campaign started late by around at least around 15 days,” he said, but added that as the harvests had still not finished in the north it was hard to be sure what the final volumes would be.
So far a 32% of exports have been sent to the U.S., 18% to the Netherlands, 7% to the U.K.
He explained that the high table grape inventories in the U.S. market last year had caused concern among exporters, but he said that they had been able to manage the situation. U.S. market socks at the end of October were 33% higher year-on-year, but swift movement in November and December led to a huge reduction and normal-range inventories at the end of the year.
“Each company does its own distribution and looks for new markets,” he said.
“Last year we were able to keep the Indonesian market open, we reopened Vietnam, we reopened Malaysia – so we have had a good selection of markets to deal with this kind of situation.”
Asked about what he saw as the biggest challenges in the industry, Zamorano said that the rising global production, driven partly by new late and early-season varieties, was limiting the market windows available.
“I think that that is the big challenge that is coming and that the whole industry is going to have to face,” he said.
You will be able to find more information on topics such as this at the inaugural Global Grape Summit, which will take place alongside the London Produce Show and Conference on June 5th, 2019. Please visit www.globalgrapesummit.