Chilean grape export season opening with good numbers

From Fresh Fruit Portal | 23 January 2024

Overview of table grapes from Chile in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on January 22, 2024.

In 2023, Peru officially became the leading table grape exporter in the world, taking the top spot once held by Chile and commanding 16% of the global trade for this commodity. Now, holding the second place, the Chilean sector is betting on varietal change to regain steam.

The Chilean Table Grape Committee posted its first 2024 estimate in late October, projecting over 60,000,000 180-pound boxes to be harvested this upcoming season. With harvest underway in most producing regions, projections remain optimistic.

Uvanova Vice President Carolina Cruz tells that the central producing regions are significantly early, particularly in shorter vegetative cycle cultivars such as the white Superior and Thomson varieties.

Uvanova is Chile’s research commission for table grape development, looking to identify challenges and bring solutions to the industry.

grape volumes by history 1

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Despite somewhat confirming the Table Grape Committee’s Oct. estimate, projecting production volumes to 62,000,000 boxes, Cruz warns that yields could be later and lower than expected due to higher temperatures.

“The emphasis is going to be on how we do good foliage and fertilization management, irrigation, to maintain a good balance between the pounds produced, the quality, and the condition we expect,” she indicates regarding the Southern crop.

As for exports, Cruz says the sector is looking at a possible increase.

“As of week two, three million boxes have been shipped. This is more than what we had last year, which was 1.9 million boxes. In terms of percentage exported to date, thinking about the 60 million boxes projected, we are currently at 5 to 8% of the total,” she says.

Systems Approach for Chilean table grape exports

A two-decade-long headache for Chileans, negotiations for the Systems Approach export protocol for table grapes exports to the U.S. have been frozen for the past five months

“I do not think we will have an answer in the medium term due to a series of successes and failures that, I believe, have more to do with political management. It’s become a matter of political bureaucracy,” says Cruz.

She adds: “We are hoping for a very good season for Chile, producers need a good season and we are betting that the market will be quite receptive, due to the low production of our competitor countries.”

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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