High hopes for second half of Chilean table grape season

From Fresh Fruit Portal | 22 February 2023

Overview of table grapes from Chile in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on February 21, 2023. 

Chilean table grape season is currently navigating its sixth week, with early crops showing stable volumes for traditional white varieties. However, industry sources state that a strong presence from Peru is dominating the U.S. market with faster shipments.

With roadblocks and protests affecting agricultural activities in late December, Peruvian exports have focused on closer shipments, where the U.S. is the traditional destination.

This has allowed the country to dominate the North American market. Additionally, according to Manuel Alcaino, chairman of data services company Decofrut, the fact that Chilean grapes are still in the process of obtaining the Systems Approach- allowing them to be exported to the U.S. without fumigation treatment –  has allowed Peruvian table grapes to remain atop.

“Peru has a very strong early season, with good quality and varieties, and also with the advantage of not having to fumigate with methyl bromide.This procedure heats up the fruit, and not having to do it means that they are able to maintain a better quality, unlike Chilean fruit,” he told FreshFruitPortal.com.

As for other destination markets, Alcaino said that consumption in Europe is declining, and therefore prices are very low.

Asia, on the other hand, while also dominated by Peru, is performing well, with Chilean table grape shipments rising by 5% year-on-year as of week six.

Regarding the second part of the season, Alcaino forecast a much more positive outcome for Chilean table grapes, with red varieties such as Timco and Crimson making a strong stance.

Alcaíno explains that Chile’s early season is characterized by a strong presence of the Thompson Seedless and Superior varieties, as white cultivars remain the strongest of the country’s early offerings.

grape prices by history

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

“This year the logistical aspect is working much better compared to 2022. This is because we have had much less citrus coming from Morocco, which complicated fumigation services at the terminals a lot. This year it is expected that this service will go much better and therefore we will not have the waits we had last year, so the fruit will reach destinations in much better condition”, he said.

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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