The country’s grape industry had a good season despite ongoing logistical challenges

South Africa’s table grape exports made a welcome return to growth this season, with the final export volume exceeding last year’s by 17 per cent.

sweet globe

Sweet Globe exports climbed 28 per cent

“It was a good season,” said Sati chairman Anton Viljoen, “even though we again faced major challenges in logistics. The resilience of the South African grape sector to overcome these challenges was again noticeable.”

Sati revealed in its end-of-season wrap that the national harvest size remained aligned with early predictions.

In the end 75.7m cartons were packed and 73.5m cartons exported.

“Over the last ten years, the country has seen a 2.7 per cent growth in inspection volumes,” the industry body outlined.

SATI noted that the 2023/24 season ended two to three weeks earlier than last season, due to changing weather patterns and rain experienced in the Hex River during the mid-late season.

“Overall, table grape exports increased by 17 per cent compared to last season – 73.5m cartons in 2023/24 compared with 63.9m the previous season,” it confirmed.

The Orange River region, the country’s biggest early region, had an ”exceptional” crop, with 24.2m cartons exported.


In terms of shipping logistics, the problems experienced in the container terminal in Cape Town had a major effect.

Sati said the volume of exports that passed through both Cape Town’s container terminal and multi-purpose terminal combined, declined by 5 per cent from 56.9m cartons the previous season to 53.9m cartons.

There was a rise in the use of conventional specialised reefer vessels with a total of 14 used during the season, while shipments were also directed to other South African ports.

The season also reflected variety changes in the South African table grape industry, with the new-generation cultivars showing steep growth.

Sweet Globe exports rose by 28 per cent compared to last year, Autumncrisp by 20 per cent, Early Sweet by 24 per cent and Ivory by 128 per cent.

The latest Sati vine census indicated a decline in table grape hectarage in the Northern Provinces while in the Orange River plantings remained fairly stable.

“Sati expects South Africa’s total table grape area planted to stabilise at the current hectarage of around 19 800,” it concluded.