World Update on Table Grapes and U.S. Export Performance
Southern Hemisphere Outlook
Table grape production (harvested December 1997 through May 1998) for 1998 is forecast at 110,000 tons, down 8 percent from the previous season because of unfavorable weather in the Mendoza Province. Mendoza and San Juan are the two principal table gape producing regions of Argentina. However, two other provinces, Catamarca and La Rioja, are coming into the market with Perle, Superior and Thompson grapes.
Total table grape exports in calendar year (CY) 1997 are estimated at 14,000 tons. For the period January through October 1997, Belgium and Brazil were Argentina's principal markets, with each respectively accounting for 41 and 40 percent of Argentina's total shipments. In 1998, Argentine table grape exports are forecast at the same level as 1997 shipments.
Total imports in CY 1997 are estimated at 2,500 metric tons. Brazil remains the principal supplier of table grapes to Argentina; supplying approximately 43 percent of total imports. Imports from the United States have increased 1,232 percent to 214 tons in 1997 with the lifting of the ban on California horticultural products. Argentina had established the ban in October 1995 in response to earlier detections of oriental fruit fly in Southern California. Argentine imports in 1998 are forecast at the same level as in 1997.
Table grape production is forecast at 820,000 tons in 1998 as increased snowfall assured sufficient water supplies. Over the next few years, Chile should have a sufficient water supplies; however, grape output is expected to decline because of reduced yields from aging rootstock and a halt in new plantings.
In 1997, Chile's table grape production is estimated at 815,000 tons, down 6 percent from 1996. Table grape production was lower because of a drought which affected most growing areas until late spring. Also the industry reports quality problems, mainly for red varieties. Chilean table grape exports in 1997 declined 12 percent to 450,000 tons. The United States, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom remain the 3 largest export markets for Chilean table grapes.
Chile produces over 35 varieties of table grapes for export. Thompson Seedless, Flame Seedless and Ribier account for the majority of production. A significant increase in production of the Red Globe variety is expected in the next few years. Chilean table grape exports in 1998 are forecast to decrease 5 percent to 430,000 tons. El Niņo caused excess moisture, unexpected rains and many cloudy days during the late spring and early summer affecting the quality of production. Grapes are splitting in some areas and the minimum size of grapes is not being obtained in others.
Chile is a net exporter of table grapes. In 1998, Chilean imports are forecast to reach 200 tons, up 18 percent from 1997. In 1997, Chile imported table grapes from the United States after years of joint government/private sector efforts to address Chile's phytosanitary restrictions. Imports from the United States totaled 169 tons. The industry is optimistic and expects table grape imports from the United States to continue.
Table grape production in 1998 is forecast at 165,000 tons, up 6 percent from 1997. There was not a significant change in South Africa's table grape production from 1996 to 1997; production level was 156,000 tons.
South Africa's grape exports are expected to rebound in 1998. Table grape exports in 1998 are forecast to increase 5 percent to 105,000 tons.
Revised Northern Hemisphere
It is too early to make reliable forecasts for the Northern Hemisphere countries for calendar year 1998. Data for the Northern Hemisphere have been revised since the November issue of the World Horticultural Trade & U.S. Export Opportunities. Grape production in the Northern Hemisphere for 1997 has been increased from 7.2 million to 7.3 tons.
U.S. table grape production in 1997 is estimated at 852,276 tons, 22 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 estimated at 825,370 tons, up 23 percent from 1996. Quality is reported as above average.
U.S. table grape exports in 1997 reached 268,846 tons, up 25 percent based on higher production and the opening of new markets, such as China and Chile. In volume terms, Canada, Hong Kong, and Mexico were the top three export markets for U.S. grapes. Mexico replaced Taiwan as the third largest market. Initially, some industry sources expected exports to exceed the above forecast; however, currency devaluations in Southeast Asia, major U.S. markets, slowed U.S. export gains.
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