South African table grape exports remain far below previous years

South African table grape exports remain far below previous years

South Africa continues to have a slow start to the season as export volumes remained far below previous years through week 48.

A recent newsletter published by the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) shows that a little over 1.51 million cartons (4.5kg equivalent) had been shipped by the end of the week.

Last season the country had shipped a little over 4.42 million cartons by the same week, showing a 34 percent decrease year-on-year by week 48.

In the 2018-19 season, 3.34 million cartons were shipped and 3.27 million in 2017-18, by week 48.

Looking at the different production regions, SATI data shows that the Northern Provinces last year already had 2.47 million cartons inspected and the Orange River region had 4.33 million cartons, versus this year only 2.00 million cartons and 917,928 cartons, respectively.

South Africa exports to 11 destinations - of which the EU and the UK generally receive the highest volumes, representing a combined 84 percent of exports in week 48 of 2019.

This year, the EU and the UK have again been the leading destinations where the exports have gone so far.

By this time last year, South African table grapes had already gone to all 11 of its destinations, while this year the country has yet to export table grapes to Asia, the United States and the Indian Ocean Islands.

Regarding the Northern Provinces, “packing is going well with white grapes reported to be above average in terms of overall quality and size. Prime, Early Sweet (Grapaes), Starlight, Tawny and Flame are being packed,” SATI said.

The Orange River region started slowly in week 46 amid good harvesting conditions with this region coming into full production from the start of the week (week 49), according to SATI.

The South African table grape season started about 10 days later than last year in the two early regions which are now in full operation.

The Olifants River Region is expected to start packing 10 to 14 days later than last season.

The Berg and Hex River regions have not started packing yet and are expected to start about a week later than last year.