Forecasts for South African table grapes is expected to exceed export volumes of the previous season. This according to the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) who said it expects intake volumes for the approaching harvest seasons could stand between 65 million and 69,8 million cartons.
With each carton weighing 4.5 kg, the table grape group said the promising numbers is an expected return to normal industry volumes.
In its first crop estimate report for the 2020-2021 season, SATI further stated that the estimation reflects a marginal growth in hectares planted over the last six years.
According to SATI’s chairman, Fanie Naudé, the season’s focus will be on providing quality table grapes from South Africa that are an essential part of healthy diets.
He said, “Producers are ready to meet the increasing worldwide demand for healthy fruit, especially during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”
The crop estimate is supported by the latest vine census, which reflects the SA table grape industry’s response to market preferences. The investment in new varieties seems to have given rise to a faster replacement of older generation varieties with new generation varieties.
A larger percentage of young vines across most of the production regions is currently not bearing or not in full production yet.
Crop estimates are done in co-operation with growers and industry experts representing all production regions. SATI said that it will use this structure to be more responsive to in-season developments and deviations.
Western Cape volumes to return to normal
For the first half of the South African season – up to around week 4, the expectation is that volumes will not be higher than in previous years.
“This is due to the extended colder conditions in the Orange River region with a resultant slightly later start that is expected.
A return to a normal crop, however, is expected for the three Western Cape-based regions.
“Especially in the late Hex River region where unseasonal rain during the last season caused substantial losses.”
SATI said that about 60% of the total crop comes from the mid-to-late Berg and Hex River regions. It said further updates from this region should be expected in a second crop estimate towards the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the Olifants River Region received plenty of winter rains with a full recovery expected for the region.
“The realisation of this crop estimate depends on a few critical factors with the weather conditions just before and during harvest the most important,” SATI added.