Table Grape Situation and Outlook
Northern Hemisphere Outlook
U.S. table grape production in 1997 is forecast at 676,677 tons, 19 percent above the previous year's output. California accounts for over 90 percent of total U.S. table grape production. California's grape production in 1997 is forecast at 634,900 tons tons, up 18 percent from 1996 but down 1 percent from 1995. Quality is reported as above average.
U.S. table grape exports in 1997 are forecast to increase 10 percent to a record 235,000 tons based on the higher production and the opening of new markets. Canada, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are expected to remain the top three export markets for U.S. grapes. Initially, some industry sources expected exports to exceed the above forecast; however, currency devaluations in Southeast Asia, major U.S. markets, will likely slow U.S. export gains.
The lifting of phytosanitary barriers in China and Chile is expected to contribute to higher 1997 U.S. grape exports. Under a phytosanitary agreement signed in Beijing on May 12, California table grapes gained access to China's market, and direct commercial shipments have begun. Exports of California grapes to China were previously prohibited because of phytosanitary concerns, such as Mediterranean fruit fly. Beginning with this year's crop, California grape producers in Fresno, Kern , Tulare, and Madera counties can ship grapes to China for the first time. Despite the current high tariff, industry sources forecast exports to China could reach $50 million within 3 years.
Also, in May 1997, the Government of Chile reduced its phytosanitary barriers on U.S. grapes. California grape growers are now able to export grapes to Chile. On August 22, the first container of California table grapes was exported to Chile, cleared quarantine inspection and went on sale in Santiago supermarkets.
The United States is a net table grape importer. Imports in 1997 are forecast to decrease by 4 percent to 345,000 tons based on the larger U.S. harvest.
In 1997, French production of table grapes is forecast to decrease 20 percent to 98,700 tons, due to late frosts in April. Frosts damaged table grape vineyards in Southern France. In addition, cases of botrytis disease in the South East part of France adversely affected production.
France traditionally imports more table grapes than it produces, with most coming from Italy and Spain. French table grape imports in 1997 are forecast at 150,000 tons, 15 percent above the previous year's level, due to the smaller harvest.
Weather conditions thus far in 1997 have been favorable in Greece for table grapes. Production in 1997 is forecast at 330,000 tons, 6 percent above the previous year's output.
Greece remains a net exporter of table grapes. Fresh table grape exports in 1997 are forecast at 100,000 tons, down 6 percent. Greece has requested EU aid to offset higher transportation for shipments to Central Europe, a major market for Greek product, following the break up of the former Yugoslavia.
Japanese table grape production in 1997 is forecast at 253,100 tons, up 4 percent from the preceding year. A slight decline in table grape acreage was more than offset by higher yields. The increase in yields are due largely to relatively good weather from the blossoming season to the harvesting season.
Japan's grape imports are forecast at 8,000 tons, up approximately 19 percent from the previous year. The United States and Chile are the two major suppliers, accounting for over 99 percent of imports. The Chilean table grape season is February through May and imports this year were up 21 percent over last year. Reportedly, Japanese importers are expected to increase imports from the United States by approximately 20 percent over 1996. However, demand could be limited by the weakening yen, which has fallen to 120 yen per dollar from 110 yen per dollar in September 1996. Most grape imports from the United States occur from October through January.
Italian table grapes were not affected by the Spring frost, and production in 1997 is forecast down slightly to 1.55 million tons. Fruit quality is expected to be normal. Sicily and Apulia regions in the South of Italy account for about 80 percent of Italian table grape output.
Table grape production in 1997 is forecast at 151,000 tons, 8 percent abpve the 1996 level due to good weather. Table grape imports in 1997 are forecast up 13 percent to 25,000 tons, reflecting a recovery of consumer purchasing power in Mexico. Mexican table grape exports in 1997 are forecast up 27 percent to 76,000 tons. The United States is the main export market.
Spain's 1997 table grape production was negatively impacted by early-season frosts and heavy rains later in the season. As a result, production is forecast to decline by 15 percent to 363,100 tons.
Spain is a net table grape exporter. Exports in 1997 are expected to decrease by 8 percent to 90,000 tons, due to the smaller crop. Major traditional markets for Spanish grapes are other EU countries, mainly France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
Revised Southern Hemisphere
Data for the Southern Hemisphere have been revised since the April issue of the World Horticultural Trade & U.S. Export Opportunities. Grape production in the Southern Hemisphere for 1997 has been reduced from 1.08 million to 1.03 million tons. Southern Hemisphere exports for 1997 were reduced from 601,500 to 561,500 tons. Reduced production and export prospects in Chile account for these changes.
For further information on supply, distribution and
trade, contact Yvette Wedderburn Bomersheim at 202-720-9903. For
information on marketing opportunities contact James Carlson at