SOUTH AFRICA – The South African table grape industry expects the volumes inspected for export in the 2023/2024 season to increase by approximately 12% compared to the actual inspected volumes of the 2022/2023 season.

According to the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI), this is in line with the three-year average volumes.

The trade body projects a national crop estimate of 73.0 million cartons (equivalent to 4.5 kg), with the upper expected limit at approximately 75.2 million cartons (equivalent to 4.5 kg) and the lower expected limit at approximately 70.8 million cartons (equivalent to 4.5 kg).

SATI Industry is a collaborative partnership that strives to establish a forward-thinking, fair, and environmentally friendly table grape industry in South Africa.

Its mission is to advocate for the table grape sector both internationally and within the South African agricultural community.

Further outlined by the body is that the two early-season regions, the Orange River, and the Northern region, as well as the mid-season Olifants River region, expect to export more grapes this year compared to 2022/23.

This increase in exports is attributed to favorable climatic conditions that have positively impacted crop yields.

The Berg River region is expecting a crop estimate like last year’s and is hopeful for an increase. Meanwhile, the Olifants River region is forecasting a crop estimate of 3.4 million cartons, compared to 3 million cartons in the previous season.

FreshPlaza indicates that the consolidation of cultivars in the South African table grape industry has ensured that producers stay in line with global market trends, allowing them to supply desired cultivars to markets.

This practice involves eliminating less popular grape cultivars and focusing on planting next-generation varieties that cater to consumer preferences.

Based on the latest national vine census, we expect a continued upward trend towards white seedless grapes in certain regions.

The census report revealed that over the past few years, South Africa’s table grape production has surged from 61 million cartons to a remarkable 77.7 million cartons in the most recent season.

During this period, production of white seedless grapes increased by 9%, red seedless grapes by 5%, and black seedless grapes by 7%.

Red seedless grapes continue to dominate, comprising 45% of the total volume, while the percentage of white seedless grapes has increased from 29% five years ago to 33% in the current year.

The current global trends and consumer preferences, as outlined by Fruitnet, are, however, inclined towards white seedless grapes, which have gained popularity worldwide. This trend has also had a significant impact on South Africa’s grape production.