JOHANNESBURG – The South African Table Grape Industry (Satgi) expects a bumper crop this year after two drought-induced difficult years, as harvesting in the northern areas has started at a brisk pace in the Orange River with both white and red seedless varieties.
This area produces a third of South Africa’s grapes.
Their season seemed between five and seven days ahead of the usual schedule and the region’s cooler weather is aiding colour development, Satgi said.
Clayton Swart, the communications manager for Satgi, said it was still too early to say whether the 2019/2020 crop would exceed the record 2016/17 crop.
“At this stage we still have a wide range from just over 61 million 4.5 kilogram equivalent cartons at the low end to 67.8 million cartons at the high end, but it is still early days and we expect to narrow the range at the end of January,” he said.
The northern region around Groblersdal and Marble Hall is already well into harvesting as the region has seen a fair bit of rain during the past few days.