Peruvian grapes rolling, despite outside distractions
All USDA and Peruvian statistics show increased Peruvian table grape export volumes for the U.S. this season.
On Jan. 24, Adam Formica, head of research for Sensonomic, shares with FreshFruitPortal.com the USDA estimate is that Peru will export 71 million cases of grapes this season. Provid, the Peruvian grape association is putting out an estimate of 73 million.
Formica says those numbers may indicate that, despite Peruvian domestic violence, there has ultimately been little trade disruption. Or, he offers, it may be that Peru’s grape production is up so much this season, that the export numbers are up despite violent protests in Peru.
FreshFruitPortal.com reported Dec. 20 that Peru had been in disarray since Dec. 7, when its president, Pedro Castillo, disbanded the national congress. Castillo was soon impeached by Congress, which was opposed by populists who in 2021 voted in the leftist president. December rioting occurred and highways were blocked.
Reports have since varied about subsequent blockage of Peruvian highways, which of course, connect the grape industry to valuable seaports.
Formica, who lives in and works from Norway, says his sources indicate there has been no disruption since December.
Regardless of these realities, Formica confirms that Peruvian export volumes have hit an all-time high. Reefer ocean container rates to Europe have tripled in the last year, so Peruvian exporters are targeting the much-closer U.S. to reduce the cost of their transportation…and their grapes. He adds a favorable U.S. dollar exchange rate is another excellent reason to access North America.
Among the strengths of the Peruvian deal are two popular new grape varieties, Sweet Globe, and Autumn Crisp. Peru’s climate is well suited for the production of these varieties, which enjoy great demand from U.S. buyers.
Formica says northern Peru shipping was wrapping up in mid-January, although he had been told that there was a good volume of storage grapes in northern Peru.
Shipping from Ica Province, to the south, began in mid-November, but was coming into large volumes in late January. That production was delayed a couple of weeks by La Nina’s unusually chilly weather. Formica says this is the third straight year for La Nina to chill Peru’s coastline. Ica’s shipping is expected to run into March.
Formica cites 2021 statistics from Peru's Ministry of Agriculture which indicate half of Peru’s grape production is from Ica, a quarter is from Piura, and the last quarter is from other provinces.
Formica explains that Sensonomic is an agritech company headquartered in Norway. The company was created in 2015 to serve growers of oil palm, sugar cane, and olives. The company cites its purpose: “to improve yield quality, harvest volume, resource utilization, and ultimately sales value through data analytics, yield predictions, harvest planning, and logistics optimization algorithms.”
In recent years, Sensonomic shifts its focus to South American grapes, and the firm now represents one of Peru’s top ten grape exporters. Starting about four months before harvest, Sensonomic uses hand-held technology in the vineyard, as well as desktop applications to provide vineyards with three production estimates prior to harvest.
These estimates include predictions of final yields and expected brix levels based on shoot, bunch, and berry measurements. Growers, finance and insurance companies, service providers, input suppliers, and buyers can all perform better with this information.