Chilean grape forecast down a quarter, Peruvian shipments well ahead

Chilean grape forecast down a quarter while Peruvian shipments well ahead of last season - Vanguard

Vanguard says that the total Chilean export forecast has been reduced by around a quarter following heavy and unseasonal rains in early February.

Expectations are now for exports of 65 million boxes, compared to original forecasts of 85 million boxes, with mid-season varieties most heavily damaged.

In the central area of Malloa, 75 millimeters (3 inches) of rain fell in less than 24 hours on Feb. 1.

Even as of Feb. 1, Chile has shipped 4.7m boxes of table grapes, down 39% from last season.

The development comes during the first season in years in which Chile was expecting a year-on-year increase in its total grape crop.

Looking at the specific varieties coming out of each region, Vanguard explained that Region III is harvesting all colors now including the Thompson Seedless Greens and Flame Seedless Reds, while Region IV is also harvesting all colors now.

Region V is showing more volume, harvesting and shipping Flame Seedless and Sugraones primarily, while Region VI is starting with Sugraones and with a very limited volume of Flame Seedless. The Metropolitan Region has started with very small volumes of Arra 29.

The situation is very different in Peru, which by week 5 had shipped 48 million boxes, 6 million more than at the same time in the 2019-20 season.

With the Piura crop complete, Peru is now projecting a total crop of 52-54 million boxes representing a 12 peercent increase.

Vanguard added that 16 million boxes of Peruvian green seedless grapes have been shipped season to date, which is up 31% over last season. Sweet Globes are up 48% more than last season representing 60% of the total green seedless portfolio. The green seedless variety that has shown the largest decrease compared to last year has been Sugraone with 30% less shipments than last year.

Meanwhile, 12 million boxes of Peruvian red seedless have been shipped season to date, which is up 13% over last season. The varieties that have shown the most significant increases are Allison Reds with 141% and Sweet Celebrations with an increase of 51%.

Ica has shipped thus far 14 million boxes of table grapes and is predicted to ship approximately an additional 12 million boxes over February and March. Overall, the Ica crop is down 2%.

Vanguard noted that Peru and Chilean grape demand is "particularly strong in Mexico, and increasing in Canada, the USA, and Asia as California completes its storage season".

"Vanguard is seeing the first arrivals of grapes from their own ranches in Peru into various markets around the world and the results have been very positive season to date. Overall quality and condition have been very well received," the company said.

It added that there are "lots of challenges" on the operations and logistics side of the business due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It’s been extremely difficult to get containers to and from the Port.  When you get containers it then becomes difficult to get them turned back into the Port," Vanguard said.

"Due to Covid 19 infections on the rise in Peru much of the workforce are heading back to their villages as they feel safer at home. Despite the general labor challenges and delays, Vanguard has been fortunate to employ a loyal work force that allowed uninterrupted work periods to ensure produce is delivered globally."

Correction (Feb.22, 2021): A previous article incorrectly stated that as of week 5 Peru had shipped 12 million more boxes than last season. This has now been corrected.