Grape expectations in Greece

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Carl Collen

BY CARL COLLEN

Grape expectations in Greece

Production of table grapes is set to bounce back while fruit quality is high

Grape expectations in Greece

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Greece, the second-largest producer of table grapes in the European Union, should see an increase in production and exports for the 2017/18 campaign.

According to a USDA-FAS GAIN study citing industry experts, this year's crop is forecast to come in at 320,000 tonnes, up from the 280,710 tonnes recorded in 2016/17 and even higher than the 311,048 tonnes seen two years ago.

There are some 17,000ha planted with table grapes in Greece, a figure that has remained steady for the past few years, and fruit quality generally is expected to be good.

"Thompson Seedless and Victoria are the leading table grape varieties grown in Greece," the USDA stated. "Crimson Seedless is showing an increased interest for new plantations, currently planted in 1,000 ha; Crimson grapes are forecast down 20 per cent for the current year.

"Moreover, a greater focus is now being placed on diversifying Greece’s grape offer to extend the marketing season into October and November," the report continued. "Other varieties cultivated include the table grapes Prime, Superior, Flame, and Cardinal."

Exports, meanwhile, are forecast to grow to 90,000 tonnes from the 78,667 tonnes shipped in 2016/17.

The EU took on the majority of Greece's grape exports in 2016/17, a share of 96.91 per cent, led by Germany (22,738 tonnes), the UK (13,808 tonnes) and Romania, which boosted its imports 49.21 per cent to 7,680 tonnes.

Topfruit

The GAIN report also analysed Greece's apple and pear prospects for 2017/18.

It is anticipated that the country's apple production will slide 5.2 per cent to 282,000 tonnes, mainly due to the hail that occurred in the apple growing areas of northern Greece.

This will not stop exports climbing slightly, however, with the USDA forecasting them to grow slightly to 90,000 tonnes from 89,628 tonnes in 2016/17.

"In marketing year 2016/17, Greece exported 89,628 tonnes of apples, mainly to Egypt (41,969 tonnes)," the report outlined. "New exports to Jordan (8,773 tonnes), Iraq (3,099 tonnes) and Saudi Arabia (1,863 tonnes) were registered."

Pear production, meanwhile, is expected to jump 13.8 per cent to 78,000 tonnes, with exports up marginally to 5,500 tonnes.

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