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The grape market has been awash with an oversupply of red fruit that has seen prices tumble, and now Eygptian suppliers face political unrest disrupting the tail-end of their sendings.

Extremely late availability of red seedless supplies from Chile has had a knock-on effect on the Egyptian season in particular.

Geoff Green, procurement director at Capespan International, said: “It has been a rollercoaster ride for the Egyptians and I really feel for the growers. They have had good quality and started much earlier than the last two years, so back on normal timings. But they have faced a two-pronged ‘attack’ from India and Chile on the market and have not had much of a chance.”

The main problem has been large volumes of Chilean Crimson Seedless finding their way onto the European marketplace, and according to Green, “there is still a lot to clear”.

The wholesale market prices this week certainly bear this out with 8.2kg cartons of Crimson Seedless making as little as 550p on Liverpool market and 475p for 4.5kg at New Covent Garden.

The overhang of Chilean fruit is a result of a weeks-long port strike in March and April which saw fruit, originally destined for the Asian market in 8kg cartons, left in reefer containers until stevedores returned to work.

The figures speak for themselves – week 18, at the end of April, saw 3,900 tonnes of grapes shipped from Chile in 2012, but in 2013 that figure was 15,400t.

To add to the difficulties, the Indians shipped unprecedented volumes of white seedless fruit into Europe and carried on packing longer and later than usual.

The packing season in Egypt has been compressed into just three weeks and finished two weeks ago but now senders are facing renewed political upheaval. Green said: “There had been no logistical problems until the last few days when the chain has started freezing up and there have been restrictions on moving product and exporters are wondering how to get their produce from this last portion of the season out.”