Peru is facing a shorter table grape harvest in 2017/18 due to a significant drop in production in the north of the country caused by the El Niño Costero weather pattern.
Provid, the Peruvian table grape producers association which represents more than two-thirds of the country’s exports, said the results of its first seasonal survey suggest that the overall export volume will be down by 10-15 per cent.
However, the outlook for the north and south of the country is markedly different. While northern regions are facing a 30 per cent drop in production, this will be partly offset by an expected 10 per cent rise in output in the south of Peru.
“It’s worth noting that harvesting in the north is running about 12-15 days late, due to the impact of lower temperatures at the end of the winter,” said Provid’s general manager Carlos Zamorano, adding that southern regions face similar delays.
Red Globe volumes in northern regions is set to fall by 38 per cent. Zamorano warned that in some cases yields would be below the minimum profit level and that this could accelerate the switch to more profitable varieties.
With late pruning fields in the north believed to be the worst affected, Provid said the overlap in production between the north and south is expected to be brief this season.
The association stressed that new methods were used to calculate the production forecasts and as such “the conclusions drawn should be met with caution”.
Zamorano said one positive aspect of the smaller crop was that it might ease pressure on the international market.
“This low supply in the Peruvian window could help shore up the market and lead to higher prices,” he noted.
Peru’s market window has become increasingly crowded as Northern Hemisphere producers have extended their season and countries like China and India continue to raise the quality bar.
The industry has done much to address its varietal imbalance but that is only part of the equation. After three successive seasons with lower than expected returns producers are becoming more aware of the need to focus on consistency and quality in order to protect their window.