Indian grape exports take a hit
Global grape output climbs 4% despite EU losses
The global 2019/20 grape crop is projected to grow 4% to 23.4 million tons, thanks to rebounding China supplies, according to USDA/FAS data. However, exports are expected to shrink slightly as lower shipments from India and the US more than offset gains from China and Mexico. China’s output is predicted to climb 9% to 10.8 million tons, as vineyards recover from last year’s severe frost. Rebounding supplies are expected to drive exports to a record 360,000 tons, as higher shipments to the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Vietnam facilitate China’s continuing upward trend.
Chile’s grape exports remain stable despite drought
Chile’s table grape planted area in 2019/20 remained stable at 47,834 ha, as did production (835,000 tons) despite the country going through an 11-year drought period, which has intensified in MY2019/20. According to USDA estimates, Chile exports around 80% of all table grape production. Grape exports for the 2019/20 season are forecast to reach 657,000 tons, practically unchanged from 2018/19.
Chile’s grape exporters turn disaster into success
A couple of months ago, Chile’s grape sector was looking at a potentially disastrous campaign, given the loss of the lucrative Chinese market. However, suppliers wasted no time in finding other markets and has successfully diverted supplies to the EU and the US. In fact, shipment volumes of Chilean grapes to the EU are up 40%, while exports to the US have risen by 7% from the same period last year. Exporters have also been aided by the weak Chilean peso, which has made its products relatively cheaper for overseas traders.
Chinese grape sector develops
China’s 2019/20 table grape imports are estimated to be down almost 5% to 250,000 tons, due to the improved quantity and quality of the domestic crop. China’s main sources for grape imports are in the Southern Hemisphere (Chile, Peru and Australia) during the off-season, while the US is traditionally China’s main grape supplier in the Northern Hemisphere. However, the trade dispute with the US has led China to grant access to Spanish and Portuguese grapes.
Australia prepares for record grape harvest
Australia expects a record table grape crop in 2019/20, with output up 14% to 240,000 tons, according to FAS data. The main factor is the growth in production area due to the profitability of the fruit and strong demand in recent years. Vine plantings are increasing by about 20% each year, which will lead to further growth as young plants reach maturity. Growing conditions were not ideal, with droughts across many production areas. Nevertheless, high returns offset the water costs.
EU grape crop production continues to fall
FAS EU reports that the EU is set for a 14% fall in its grape crop in 2019/20 (June/May), mainly due to a fall in the main producing country, Italy, where output fell 25% due to heavy rains during flowering. Production is also down in Romania (-12%) and Greece (-1.4%), while the crops are larger this year in France (+10.3%), Bulgaria (+9.2%), and Portugal (+1.2%). Volumes in Spain are expected to remain flat.
Spanish grapes gain access to Chinese market
Chilean cherry exports overtake table grape exports
For the first time, Chile’s shipments of cherries FOB are worth more than their exports of table grapes, showing a clear shift in the country’s priorities. Cherry exports reached US$1.3 billion in 2018-2019, compared to US$1,1 billion for table grape exports. In volume terms, grapes still have supremacy 652,000 tons of grapes compared with 180,000 tons of cherries in the same period.
Italian grape sector fights to stop decline
Italy’s grape sector is desperately trying to stop the alarming decline in production. Since 2008, the country’s production area has shrunk by 66%, from 70,870ha to 46,850ha. To reverse this trend, the sector is working to improve quality, innovation and promotion. Despite the decline, Italy is still Europe’s leading producer (over 1 million tons), with Puglia and Sicily leading the way. One area in which Italy needs to change is in its varieties, which for now are mainly with seeds, whereas the trend is now very much for seedless.