SA Table Grape Industry releases first crop estimate for 2020/2021
DURBAN - The South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) released its first Crop Estimate for the season which showed that the 2020/2021 season intake volumes were estimated at between 65 million and 69,8 million cartons (4.5 kg equivalent).
SATI chairperson Fanie Naudé said that this signaled an expected return to normal industry volumes while also reflecting a marginal growth in hectares planted over the last six years.
“The focus will be on providing quality table grapes from South Africa that are an essential part of healthy diets with producers ready to meet the increasing worldwide demand for healthy fruit, especially during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic,” said Naudé.
The earliest Northern Provinces Region was expected to start a week later than normal, which was week 45. Indications were that the Orange River was likely to start about 5 days later due to cooler spring weather. SATI said that it was still too early to predict when exactly the remaining three South African production regions based in the Western Cape province would start harvesting.
The basis of the crop estimate was supported by the latest vine census, which reflects the SA table grape industry’s response to market preferences through the investment in new varieties that gave rise to the accelerated replacement of older generation varieties with new generation varieties. A larger percentage of young vines across most of the production regions was currently not bearing or not in full production yet.
Crop estimates were done in cooperation with growers and industry experts representing all production regions. SATI said it would use this structure to be more responsive to in-season developments and deviations.
Expectations for the first half of the SA season up to around week 4 were that volumes were not expected to be higher than in the previous years. This was due to the extended colder conditions in the Orange River region with a resultant slightly later start expected.
A return to a normal crop was expected for the three Western Cape based regions, especially in the late Hex River region where unseasonal rain during the last season caused substantial losses.
SATI’s Naudé said that it had to be noted that about 60 percent of the total crop came from the mid-to-late Berg and Hex River regions with further updates from this region to be expected in a second crop estimate towards the end of the year.
The Olifants River Region received plenty of winter rains creating full recovery expectations for this region.
The realisation of this crop estimate depended on a few critical factors with the weather conditions just before and during harvest being the most important.
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