Peru has wrapped up its 2018-19 table grape export season with a 40% rise in volumes, but is expecting a challenging future in international markets amid rising competition.
Carlos Zamorano, general manager of industry body Provid, told FreshFruitPortal.com that the season had got off to a tough start due to heavy inventories in the U.S. market, which impacted prices of Peruvian fruit.
This led South American country to divert some volumes to the European market, putting pressure on prices there too, Zamorano said.
He added that there was also more fruit available in the market from other supplying countries, driven by the introduction of new varieties around the world.
“These new varieties aren’t just more productive … but they’re also earlier or later, which increase the windows of every country,” he said. “There are the production overlaps which I think are going to become increasingly common and we going to have to work on that commercially.”
Improved management of production costs will also important to remain competitive in export markets, he said.
Although this season was challenging for Peru in the U.S., the market has become Peru’s leading table grape export destination, followed by China and Europe.
“This season we reached 56 destinations … it was quite an interesting and open campaign, which is what we are always looking for - trying to be present on all continents,” he said.
As for the 40% rise in volumes this season, Zamorano said this was largely because the 2017-18 season has been heavily impacted by rains related to the El Ñiño phenomenon.
“We have finished on almost 47 million boxes exported,” he said. This is a record figure for the country.
As well as the recovery from the previous season, the figure was achieved as around 1,500-1,600 hectares have been planted since the 2016-17 season.
“Ica [the main southern growing region] has grown by almost 1,000 hectares, and Piura has remained more or less the same. Lambqyeque has also remained more or less the same, and there have been about 600 or 700 hectares more in the La Libertad area,” he said.
Growth has not just come from a larger planted area, but also varietal reconversion.
“We are working with a very large number of new varieties, around 50 or more,” he said.
In 2018 Peru became the world’s third-largest table grape exporter by value, displacing Italy and China. Peru exported US$819 million of table grapes, while Italy exported US$779 million and China exported US$690 million. The number one and two spots went to Chile with US$1.1 billion and the U.S. with US$926 million.
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.