Some producers are cutting back their Asian programmes after delays in harvesting and shipping affect fruit quality

Peruvian grape producers and exporters are being forced to adapt their shipping programmes in the wake of the social unrest that swept through the country last month, blocking roads and access to farms and ports.

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With growers forced to leave the fruit on the vine or in storage for longer than usual, there are reports of some shipments being diverted from Asia to closer markets in an effort to reduce transport times and preserve fruit quality.

Gabriel Noboa, a member of the commercial board of Peruvian grape association Provid and commercial manager of agricultural Don Ricardo told Fruitnet that exporters were making the “responsible decision” of switching destinations.

“It’s true that some fruit may have changed colour as is not going to reach Asia and will instead be destined for the US, EU and Latin American markets,” he said. “It’s difficult to estimate how much as it depends on the reality of each exporter.”

Noboa said the delays would also lead to greater congestion in the markets as February and March are typically peak supply months due to the presence of other origins.

“At this stage it’s difficult to put a figure on the financial losses resulting from the protests, but companies will be impacted by fewer deliveries, the loss of fruit that will not be exported but left on the national market, and the fall in market prices due to the concentration of supply,” he said.

Provid has warned that Peru is unlikely to reach its pre-season export forecast of 73m cartons, or 598,000 tonnes, as a result of the unrest. The original estimate would have represented an increase of 13 per cent on last season’s shipment volume.

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