“This could be the dream table grape season for us in Ica”

From Fresh Plaza | 6 December 2023

Overview of grapes from Peru in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on December 6, 2023.

After a very challenging and quick start to the table grape season in Peru, the production area of Ica is entering into the peak of their season. Weather conditions have turned out to be “extraordinarily good” according to Benjamín Cilloniz, General Manager of Exportadora Safco Peru S.A: “We are entering into our peak season in Ica. This region started its harvest very early, but the conditions have been extraordinarily good for us, without an intense winter. Right now, after 9 months with higher temperatures (mainly in the minimum °C), we are having a completely normal spring.”

He says they are very happy with their first grape arrivals in China and good prices in the US market. “We had our first arrival in China last week and the market is very good. In the United States we have many weeks with good arrivals and pricing. We expect that Piura should be ending its harvest in a couple of weeks so we should have a smoother peak as Peru.”

The warmer winter was caused by the El Niño effects that lead to an earlier start to Peru’s table grape season. “The overheating in the ocean just in front of Peru has been decreasing because of steady winds coming from the south, and we have had the same conditions of a normal year in the past four to five weeks. Rains in the highlands have started a little bit earlier, which is also good for Ica because we are having water in the river since last week.”

grape volumes by history 12

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

Cilloniz says they are now very hopeful as the climate situation has turned very positive for the remainder of the table grape harvest in Peru. “I know it sounds like impossible as we are seeing the entire world with many problems, but Ica is a paradise for table grape production and it seems that this could be the dream season for us. Because of the normalization of the weather the late pruning from Ica should allow us to keep harvesting until March, although we know that many growers didn’t take the chance of a late pruning because of the higher possibility of rains in the valley. As Safco we have already harvested almost 40% of our fruit and we expect to be over the 70% mark by December 31.”

He sings the virtues of Ica as a table grape production region. “As a country, although everybody knows that my heart is from Ica, I really think that there is no better place in the world to grow table grapes. So we could increase the area in the region, but we would need a better water management, by saving water in the rainy season. The north from Peru can harvest earlier and that could mean better market condition, but I am very respectful of mother nature in the north,” concludes a very upbeat Cilloniz.

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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