South Africa exported 77.7 million cases of fresh grapes this season, up a modest 4%

South Africa’s fresh grape industry (SATI) reports a slight increase in both production and exports for the 2021/22 season. Good weather conditions and new varieties coming into full production this season set the stage for a good harvest, with a total of 77.7 million boxes of fresh grapes (4.5 kg/box) inspected and exported, an increase of about 4% compared to the previous season.

Exports continued to grow despite numerous challenges such as difficult market conditions and logistics controls affecting the quality of arrivals in export markets. South African fresh grape exports have grown at a compound annual growth rate of 6% since the 2017/18 season, while this season has only increased by approximately 4% compared to the 2020/21 season.

In contrast, SATI’s latest grape census showed that the area planted to fresh grapes in South Africa fell slightly by 1% (185 hectares) to 20,379 hectares compared to the previous season. The six most planted varieties now account for 50% of the country’s acreage, with a further reduction in the acreage of smaller varieties.

The top five export markets for South African grapes are the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, all of which saw growth, but exports to Russia fell sharply by 29 percent, largely due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Challenges for the South African grape industry this season include shipping delays at the Port of Cape Town in December 2021/January 2022 and the closure of Shanghai during a period of severe outbreak of the New Crown. Global container shortages and unsustainable increases in transport costs have further increased the financial pressure on this industry. Together, these factors led to longer transit times.

At the same time, macroeconomic factors created significant pressure downstream in the industry’s value chain this quarter. According to the Global Economic Indicators Data Network (Trading Economics 2022), inflation in the Eurozone was 7.4% in March 2022, up from 1.3% a year earlier, while inflation in the UK was 7%, up from 0.7% a year earlier.

In addition, increased production of fresh grapes in southern hemisphere countries such as Peru has intensified competition in traditional markets. 2018/19 season Peruvian fresh grape exports were around 383,000 tons, increasing to 531,000 tons in 2020/21 season. Other factors such as rising input costs, cold chain maintenance and continuous power outages are also making profitability challenging for producers.

Source: International Fruit & Vegetable Report

Post time: Sep-29-2022