South African grape industry expects to exceed latest export estimate

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South African grape industry expects to exceed latest export estimate

Having gotten its 2020-21 table grape export season off to a slower start than previous years, the South African grape industry now expects to finish the campaign significantly higher, with volumes likely to exceed the most recent estimate.

As of week 13, the country had exported 67.9m cartons of grapes, compared to 61.4m in 2020. Meanwhile, intake volumes as of week 12 stood at 71.8m cartons, compared to 65.3m last year.

In its fourth crop estimate released on March 4, the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI), forecast volumes of 67.2 to 70.9m cartons.

Four of the five regions are done packing while the Hex River continues packing. The Northern Provinces reached the highest intake level of over 7.8m, the Orange River 18.3 million cartons and the Olifants River over 4.4 million cartons.

"The upper limit of the fourth crop estimate will likely be exceeded by more than 2 million cartons," SATI said.

"This is mainly due to the Berg River, which experienced exceptional yields and pack-outs while the Hex River recovered very well from the rain earlier in their season. Another contributing factor is the higher-yielding new generation cultivars that came into full production leading to the higher volumes."

The Berg River exceeded the fourth estimate to reach over 19.5m cartons. The last few thousand cartons are being packed.

The Hex River region entered the last few weeks of packing of mainly Crimson and Scarlotta.

The majority of the additional volumes this season compared to the previous one went to the European Union, to which 36.6m cartons had been sent as of week 13, compared to 30.3m by the same time last year.

Exports to the U.K. and Canada have experienced a slight fall to 15.1m and 3.9 million respectively, while there have been slight increases to the Middle East and Southeast Asia, with 3.1m and 3.3m respectively.

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