South Africa table grape planted area, production and exports are all forecast to increase in the marketing year 2021-22, according to a USDA report.
The area planted to table grapes is forecast to grow by two percent to 20,900 hectares in the 2021-22 marketing year from 20,564 hectares last year.
This comes from new orchards and varieties coming into full production, new production areas in the Northern Province and some wine grape areas under financial stress in the Western Cape being converted to table grapes.
Occasional dips in area planted such as in 2019-20, 2012-13 and 2010-11 are either due to drought, hail damage or frost damage.
The Hex River in the Western Cape Province is the major growing area for table grapes, accounting for 31 percent of the total area planted in South Africa. Followed by the Orange River at 27 percent and Berg River with 23 percent.
The leading varieties of table grapes based on area planted are Crimson Seedless at 18 percent, followed by the Prime with eight percent and Sweet Celebration, Sweet Globe and Sugrathirtyfive with five percent.
South African table grape production is forecast to continue its growth in marketing year 2021-22 based on normal weather conditions, new areas coming into production and high yielding varieties.
The production is forecast to grow by 2 percent year-on-year to 370,000MT in the 2021-22 marketing year.
This is due to the increase in area planted, improved yields, normal weather conditions, availability of irrigation water following a normal winter rainfall season in 2021, and high yielding new varieties and plantings coming into full production.
Figure 8 shows that the production of table grapes has increased significantly from 245,000MT in the 2010-11 marketing year, to an estimated 370,000MT in the 2021-22 marketing year.
The export of table grapes is forecast to grow by 2 percent to 343,500MT in the 2021-22 marketing year.
Due to the increase in production, industry continued efforts to grow the export markets and industry’s ability in managing shipping container shortages, disruptions and shipping costs.
Europe is the leading historical export market for South African table grapes, accounting for 70 percent of table grape exports. The Netherlands is the largest single-country export market accounting for 40 percent of the total South African exports, followed by the United Kingdom with 24 percent.
Export volumes to the United States and Canada have grown significantly over the past years as well but are still at below 25,000MT, accounting for only seven percent of the total exports in the 2020-21 marketing year.