Recovery in export volumes, driven by higher crop in the Orange River region, is welcomed by South African industry

South African green grapes close up Adobe

The South African table grape export forecast has been increased following a better-than-anticipated crop in one of the major early export regions.

Industry body Sati said the total export crop was now likely to reach nearly 76m cartons, noting that it was a pleasing development, with the new prediction showing a substantial increase compared with last year.

“The revised crop estimate for the 2023/24 season represents a 3.8 per cent increase on the season’s initial crop estimate released on 29 September 2023, and a 16 per cent increase on the previous season’s actual volumes,” it stated.

“The increase is due to higher than anticipated packing volumes in the Orange River region.”

Sati said that packing in the Orange River Region was nearing completion, and current forecasts suggested a final inspection volume of approximately 23.9m cartons.

“This exceeds the Orange River Region’s initial estimate of 21.1m cartons, therefore resulting in the upward revision of the national inspection volume,” it confirmed.

Packing was nearing completion In the Northern Provinces, Sati said, and the estimated inspection volumes remain unchanged at 5.8m cartons. 

“Similarly, the three Western Cape regions – Olifants River, Berg River, and Hex River – are on track with their original estimates, and packing is progressing smoothly.”  

The forecast volumes for the Olifants River stood at 3.4m cartons, Berg River 19.1m cartons and Hex River 23.5m cartons, the industry body commented.

The revised crop estimate of 75.8m cartons represents a healthy increase in South Africa’s national table grape volumes, recovering from 65.2m cartons inspected for export in the previous season.  

SATI said this boded well for the South African table grape industry, indicating its ability to remain a reliable and significant supplier of high-quality grapes to international markets.