“Our Mexican table grape growing costs have increased by 35% in last two years”

From Fresh Plaza | 12 May 2023

Overview of organic grapes from Mexico in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on May 11, 2023. 

The start of Agrofesa’s 2023 Mexican table grape season is up to 7 days later than last year due to colder weather during blooming and flowering. César Ortiz, CEO of Agrofesa, says despite this delayed start the overall quality of all varieties look “outstanding” and point to a good season.

Afrofesa’s farm is in Hermosillo, Sonora, which is Mexico’s main table grape production area. “We expect a very good season. Industry wide most of the varieties look well, quality this year will be outstanding. We have had decent weather in the last couple of weeks. Our grape program is about 5-7 days off compared to last year due to cold weather after blooming and flowering in some of the early varieties, while mid-season and late season varieties look outstanding. This delay is being seen in general in all growing regions going north,” explains Ortiz.

He is worried about growing costs that are still increasing, but excited to be supplying an empty US market. “Our Mexican table grape growing costs have increased by about 35% in the last two years. We really look forward to a great season since we will hit an empty market across the board in all three colours. Chile wrap up their season sooner than they originally anticipated and their total packout was slightly off from their estimation,” says Ortiz.

grape volumes by history 2

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

Agrofesa is transitioning from traditional varieties to proprietary table grape varieties. The company also exports to Europe and Asia. “This year we will be introducing a new organic variety Timpson. We currently grow Flame, Summer Royal, Ivory, Sweet Globe, Sweet Celebration, Candy Snaps and Sugra-53. Next year 50% of our total production will be organically grown. Additionally, 70% of our total production will be new varieties.”

Each year, beside renewal of cultivars on the farm, Ortiz and his team tackle a major project. Last year they constructed a purpose built cafeteria to not only feed workers who toil on the farms daily. With the new facility Agrofesa provide daily meals to 400 people, this includes the families of workers, with spare capacity to also feed the surrounding communities.

“In addition we currently manufacture some organic fertilizers to enrich our organic program in grapes and vegetables. We will soon start the construction of a laboratory in order to reproduce Bacillus Subtilis, Bacillus Thuringiensis and Trichoderma,” says Ortiz proudly.

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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