Argentina: Table grape exports from key region 'lowest in 12 years'
With the Argentine table grape season in its final stages, industry forecasts are putting the total volume from the country's main production region at the lowest level in 12 years, local media reports.
Publication Diario de Cuyo reported that the San Juan province is expected to close the season on 4,000 metric tons (MT), 18% lower than the 4,900MT exported last year.
The region reportedly used to export up to 70,000MT, and many table grape companies have now closed.
The drop is attributed to lower competitivity resulting from higher costs of production, shipping, energy and export services, the publication reported. Shipping costs from San Juan in northwest Argentina to the capital in the east are now higher than the sea freight cost from Buenos Aires to Europe.
In addition, industry sources reportedly said that exports have been affected by higher taxes and the rising value of the dollar.
"The problem is the inflation of dollar costs", making it more difficult to export even though the exchange rate has improved, Antonio Giménez of the Trade Chamber was quoted as saying.
Superior and Flame are among the two main varieties in the region.