China: Table grape imports to rise in 2021-22 season
China's table grape imports are due to rise by 8 percent year-on-year in the 2021-22 (June-May) season on the back of growth from South America, according to a USDA report.
The USDA GAIN report said table grape imports are estimated at 210,000 metric tons (MT) over the year, in anticipation of a production rebound in Chile, the largest grape supplier to China. In MY 2020-21, grape imports from Chile dropped by 30 percent on year due to a crop failure in the southern hemisphere country.
Imports from Peru, the second largest grape supplier are expected to improve as well. Australian grape supply is expected to be up next year, but it is unclear how continued trade tensions may impact imports from this supplier.
Imports from northern hemisphere, typically the United States, will continue to decrease faced with competition from local supplies.
Additionally, ongoing logistical challenges, such as container shortages, port service disruptions and Covid-19 testing, and disinfection measures implemented by China are expected to impact 2021-22 imports.
Domestic table grape production
China’s table grape production is forecast at 11 million MT in 2021-22, an increase of nearly 2 percent from the previous year.
Xinjiang, the largest grape producing province, is estimated to have a good harvest similar to that of last year. Despite excessive rains in the summer, Hebei and Shandong, the second and third largest grape producers, are also expecting a stable output in comparison with the previous year.
Henan, the fifth largest grape producer, is likely to witness a much smaller crop because of severe flooding in the summer months.
Grape acreage is forecast at 733,000 hectares in 2021-22, slightly up from the previous year. The grape area is expected to increase slowly or remain stable for the near term.
China’s table grape exports are forecast to decline by nearly 23 percent to 330,000 MT in 2021-22, as Covid-19 remains prevalent in some major markets in southeast Asia including Vietnam, the second largest grape buyer of Chinese grapes following Thailand.
The spread of the pandemic has dramatically slowed the buying activities from these countries and some trading areas bordering China have been closed, according to media reports.