South African table grape industry poised for recovery in 2024

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South African table grape industry poised for recovery in 2024

After challenging weather conditions dropped South African table grape volumes during the 2022-23 season, favorable low temperatures could push production up to 370,000 metric tons (MT), a recent USDA report suggests. 

If realized, this would signify a 16% uptick in volumes year-on-year.

Last year’s winter saw low temperatures in the main table grape-producing regions, which is ideal during the dormancy cycle and aided in good berry size, coloring, and quality. These conditions also lowered pest pressure. 

In January last year, the Northern Cape province’s Orange River region experienced a heatwave that severely affected yields. The region accounts for roughly 29% of the country’s growing areas.

The cultivar profile of table grapes in South Africa has changed significantly over the past decade. Consumers prefer seedless grapes, and, as a result, seeded cultivars are declining while the production of seedless table grapes varieties is growing. 

Less than 8% of current vineyards are still seeded table grapes. New plantings heavily favor three varietals: Autumn Crisp, Sweet Celebration, and Sweet Globe

Related articles: South African blueberry exporters expected to reach their goal


The South African table grape industry is mainly export-orientated, with over 85% of production destined for foreign markets. The supply of table grapes to the domestic market depends on exports, with table grapes that do not meet export quality standards being sold to the domestic fresh produce market or supplied to processors. 

Exports are forecasted at 340,000 MT, a 20% uptick on expected improvement in export quality production. Exports are also supported by a weaker exchange rate against the U.S. dollar and lower freight costs compared to 2022-23.

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