"Renewed optimism and excitement for" South African table grapes

South African table grape: "Renewed optimism and excitement" for season - Vanguard

South African table grape:

Multinational fruit supplier Vanguard has provided an update on the South African table grape season currently underway, saying there is "renewed optimism and excitement".

The season follows on from the 2020-21 campaign that ended with 74.9 million cartons, making it a record season in total volume.

"Needless to say, last year was a challenging one, with Covid-19 infections peaking at the end of 2020 followed by the container shortage and cyber-attacks both of which impacted the season significantly," Vanguard said.

"With last season behind us, there is renewed optimism and excitement around the quantity and quality of the new season ahead. We remain very aware of the global shipping and logistic challenges that still remain going into the 2021-22 season."

"We are learning to live with our “new normal” in the Covid-19 world and adhering to strict protocols in and around our growers’ packing facilities."

The first crop estimates for 2021-22 was just released with expected volumes between 70.6 and 77.7 million 4.2kg cartons. This is the third consecutive season that will see growth in the table grape industry even with a noted table grape hectare decrease of 1,234 hectares since 2019.

Similar to last year, the country experienced an excellent winter with much needed rain across the region including the rural areas of the Northern Cape that previously was drought stricken for nine years.

The Orange river still had rain up to two weeks ago, which will be good for size on the earlier varieties like Early Sweet, Starlite, and Prime seedless, Vanguard said. The long-term weather prediction is that rain in this area could be seen much later than normal.

This predicted weather is pushing the crop back between seven – 10 days and that means the Orange River will start with large volume in late November/early December.

"Growers from all South African production areas are cautiously optimistic about the coming season are are paying extra close attention to the shipping woes and container shortages challenging exporters and other industry players," the company said.

"We know this is a very busy time for the ports and logistics as a whole as South African plums, apricots, peaches, blueberries, and cherries will all peak during December in the Western Cape, and they are all highly perishable. Just like grapes all these fruit types are growing in volumes year on year."

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