South Africa's table grape exports remain lower than previous seasons

South Africa's table grape exports remain lower than previous seasons

South Africa maintains its slower-than-normal season as export volumes remained below previous years through week 51.

In a recent newsletter published by the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI), the numbers show that a little over 7.55 million cartons (4.5kg equivalent) had been shipped by the end of the week.

Last season the country had shipped over 12.61 million cartons by the same week, showing a 60 percent decrease year-on-year by week 51.

In the 2018-19 season, 12.30 million cartons were shipped and 12.62 million in 2017-18, by week 51.

Looking at the various production regions, SATI data shows that in 2019 the Northern Provinces had 3.54 million cartons inspected while this year it has had 3.77 million cartons inspected through week 50.

The Orange River region had 9.75 million cartons, versus this year with 6.39 million cartons. The Olifants River region had 294,932 cartons inspected in 2019 and only 22,892 cartons through week 50.

The 11 countries that South Africa exports to have all received shipments, though not at the same volume as in past years.

This year, the EU and the UK continue to be the leading destinations where exports have gone so far with 4.23 and 1.45 million cartons respectively.

However, in comparison with the 2019-20 season, the data shows a 64 percent and 55 percent decrease, respectively.

Three production regions are now packing namely the Northern Provinces, Orange River and Olifants River regions.

Regarding the Northern Provinces, “packing is going well under good weather conditions. The quality of grapes is reported to be very good with very nice berry sizes achieved. 

The region as well as the Orange River region is done packing Prime, Early Sweet, Starlight and Flame.

Concerning the Orange River region, sporadic rain in parts of the region over the past couple of days and the extended holiday weekend will lead to an interruption in planned packing programs of nearly a week.

“The weather forecast for the next 10 days looks positive and this is when the packing of Sable, Ralli Seedless and Ivory will continue unabated,” according to the release.

In the Olifants River region, producers started packing Tawny in the Trawal area during week 51, followed by the rest of the region, which started packing fully from week 52.

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