World Raisin Situation in Selected Countries
Northern Hemisphere Countries
Production expected to increase in 1997/98
The 1997/98 sultana pack in Turkey is forecast at 210,000 tons, up 5 percent from 1996/97, due to favorable weather. The quality of the crop is considered excellent and greatly improved compared to the previous season.
On August 6, 1997, TARIS, the quasi-governmental Aegean growers cooperative for olives, cotton, figs, and sultanas, announced the 1997/98 procurement price of TL 160,000 per kilogram (about US$0.90 per kilogram) for type #9 raisins (USD 1.00=TL 178,000). This price represents a slight decrease over the 1996/97 price in real (inflation-adjusted) terms.
Turkish export opportunities should increase because of the elimination of EU minimum import price (MIP) in 1998
In 1997/98 Turkish sultana exports are expected to rise by 3 percent to 175,000 tons. The EU is the most important market for Turkish sultanas (especially the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy). Future Turkish sultana exports should benefit from the elimination of the EU minimum import price (MIP) system in 1998. Increases in consumer-packaged shipments are likely, which currently has a duty charged at a higher rate than bulk shipments. Outside of the European Union, Australia and Canada are important export markets for Turkish sultanas. The Turkish industry is concentrating on improving quality to expand to more quality-conscious markets over the next several years.
Turkish domestic consumption in 1997/98 is forecast to
decrease 23 percent to 40,000 tons. Reduced procurement of
sultanas obtained by TEKEL, the state liquor monopoly, for
distillation is the reason for the likely lower consumption.
In 1997/98 TEKEL is expected to buy approximately 20,000 tons
of sultanas directly from farmers, 38 percent below the previous
year, at a cost of TL 155,000 per kilogram (#9 raisins). Since
the crop is a much higher quality, more raisins are expected to
be exported at higher prices. TARIS reportedly owns an additional
10,000 tons of lower quality sultanas that may later be utilized
by TEKEL. In addition, it is estimated that approximately 15,000
tons of lower-priced sultanas have entered Turkey from Iran
through unofficial border trade.
There is no direct export subsidy for sultanas. To protect the domestic industry, the government has a 55-percent import duty on the CIF value of sultana imports.
Greek production begins to return to normal after recovery from Phylloxera problem
The 1997/98 sultana pack is forecast at 40,000 tons, 21 percent above last year's revised output. The Phylloxera Recovery Program is continuing to replace vineyards with Phylloxera-resistant vines. By the year 2000, the government expects that 75 to 90 percent of the vines on Crete (the main production area) will be replaced with new plants. Production is expected to recover to 55,000 to 60,000 tons over the next few years.
In 1998 minimum import prices will no longer be used by the
EU. In the future, local cooperatives will set the minimum prices
in a more market oriented way. To help maintain the more
efficient orchards, the EU is now providing direct income support
to farmers based on their average production levels at a level of
1,030,000 Drs/ha for farms with yields greater than 2,800 Kg/ha.
Low yield orchards in remote areas are reportedly being abandoned
while most other acreage left is being replanted with healthy
rootstock and irrigated. This season the local cooperatives set
the prices at 170 Drs/kg for Grade No. 4, which was the 1996
minimum EU grower price.
Greek exports to increase as the industry tries to recapture previous export markets
About 90 percent of Greek sultana production is exported. Greek exports of sultanas in 1997/98 are expected to increase 30 percent to 37,000 tons. Major markets for Greek sultanas include the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. When the supply of Greek sultanas increases, the industry hopes to expand sales to former and new markets. The Greek Government may promote sultanas through the Export Promotion Organization (OPE). However, competition from Turkey and Iran is expected to be strong.
Raisin production in 1997/98 is forecast to increase 46 percent to 19,000 tons. Yields increased due to favorable weather and more intensive cultivation practices. Production mainly occurs in Sonora, and to a lesser extent in Baja California. Thompson grapes make up 90 per cent of production.
In 1997/98, exports are expected to climb by more than 33 percent to 9,000 tons, based on increased exportable supplies. The vast majority of best quality raisins are exported to the United States with a smaller amount shipped to Canada. Mexican processors then import lower quality raisins (mostly from Chile) to meet domestic demand.
Mexico is expected to reduce its imports of raisins in 1997/98 due to the larger harvest. The United States and Chile compete to export raisins to Mexico, with Chilean exports lower priced. Mexico, which has limited storage space, usually begins importing Chilean raisins in February, when supplies are depleted. In the future, Mexico is likely to import more Chilean raisins under the Mexico-Chile Free Trade Agreement, since Chilean raisin prices will be lower priced.
Domestic consumption in Mexico in 1997/98 is expected to approximate last year's level. Stagnant consumer purchasing power has contributed to flat consumption. Bakeries and food processors continue to be the largest users of Mexican raisins. Christmas and Easter are the most important utilization seasons for raisins. Imported raisins (except from the United States and Chile, which both have a zero tariff rate) are assessed an import tariff of 20 percent (0806.20.01).
Raisin output in 1997/98 is projected to rebound 25 percent to 330,000 tons, packed weight basis. Favorable weather and an upswing in the bearing cycle are expected to contribute to the increase. The first official estimate of the 1997/98 raisin pack in the United States will be released by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service in January 1998.
The increased demand for grapes for processing into juice and wine, has limited the available supply for drying in the last few years. However, the expected larger grape production this year should also help boost raisin production.
In an attempt to boost export sales in the coming season, growers recently reduced farmgate prices of raisins. The growers hope to encourage lower prices that will help to expand export sales, especially to Europe and Asia.
Value of raisin exports sets another record in 1996/97
U.S. raisin exports in 1996/97 totaled 117,816 tons, less than 1 percent below the 1995/96 volume. However, on a value basis, exports rose 3 percent to a record $205 million. The United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, and Germany were the largest four markets, respectively.
Japan becomes the largest U.S. raisin export market
U.S. raisin exports in 1996/97 to Japan reached 27,069 tons, 8 percent above the 1996/97 volume. The value of shipments to Japan jumped 16 percent to $45.6 million. U.S. raisins have managed to maintain a very high market share in Japan over the last 4 years. The U.S. industry uses a three prong approach to promotion in the Japanese market, aiming its program at institutions (hotels, schools), manufacturers, and consumers. This strategy has enabled U.S. raisin exports to remain strong despite a slow economy, currency fluctuations, and increased competition.
The United Kingdom is the California industry's second largest export market with 1996/97 exports totaling 24,867 tons, valued at $43.9 million, 2 percent below the previous year's value. Nevertheless, the U.S. industry has been able to maintain its top position in the United Kingdom by focusing on new and varied uses for raisins and by focusing on new users. Canada has also remained a strong market for U.S. raisin exports.
The U.S. industry is hopeful to increase exports in 1997/98, given larger supply forecasts. They plan to continue expansion of exports to Pacific Rim countries and to new markets in central Europe. The U.S. industry's goal is to increase knowledge of U.S. raisins through consumer activities and educational materials.
U.S. consumption of raisins decreased 18 percent in 1996/97 to 172,639 tons. Lower supplies and higher prices contributed to the decrease. An expected larger harvest in 1997/98 should increase consumption.
Southern Hemisphere Countries
The 1997/98 forecast for the total Southern Hemisphere sultana
pack (harvested in early 1997) will be released in July 1998.
South Africa is the only Southern Hemisphere country for which a
1997/98 forecast is available. The Southern Hemisphere 1996/97
pack estimate has been revised downward, from 122,200 tons to
85,000 tons based on smaller than expected harvests in Australia
and South Africa. Selected country Southern Hemisphere exports in
1996/97 have been reduced from 88,700 to 67,000 tons based on the
The 1996/97 sultana production estimate has been reduced to 23,000 tons from the preliminary forecast of 35,000 tons. This smaller production is due to lower yields reflecting frosts in the crucial budding period in September 1996. Fruit quality was also lower due to rains followed by warm weather, which created disease problems. The 1997/98 sultana pack is forecast to increase by 95 percent, or to 45,000 tons, assuming more favorable weather conditions.
This season, some sultana vines were replaced with premium wine varieties because of ongoing export demand for Australian wines. This trend is expected to continue and grow over the next several years and may lead to a reduction in winery demand for multi-purpose grapes. Those grapes would likely be available for dried fruit production.
Australian raisin exports decline in 1996/97
As a result of lower supplies, exports in 1996/97 declined. Primary Australian export markets include: Germany, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom.
The 1997/98 raisin/sultana pack is forecast at 33,586 tons, up 12 percent from the previous year. Favorable weather, and ample water supplies during the growing season, contributed to the increase.
South Africa's raisin/sultana exports in 1997/98 are forecast at 22,894 tons, 8 percent below the previous year's shipments due to reduced supplies. Supplies are down in 1997/98 due to smaller carry in stocks. Usually 70 percent of production is exported. South Africa's primary export markets are the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan and the Netherlands.
Policy changes may affect South African agriculture in the next year. In Europe, the Minimum Import Price (MIP) system is being eliminated which will benefit South Africa because of the current value of the rand against the European currencies. The value of the rand against the stronger U.S. dollar benefits South African export sales.
In addition, the New Agricultural Marketing Act, Act 46 of 1996 has entirely liberalized the South African Agricultural Marketing System to make it a free (vs. controlled) market system. Therefore dried fruit producers are able to market their products without the dried fruit board if they wish. This act is expected to facilitate the entrance of new traders in the South African export/import market.
(For further information on production, supply,
distribution, and trade, contact Stephanie Riddick at
202-720-9792. For information on U.S. export marketing
opportunities contact Kelly Kirby Strzelecki at 202-720-1341.)
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