Good start to table grape season

The first table grapes of the new season are being harvested and packed as producers across the country look forward to a good production year.

The industry anticipated the 2014/2015 crop volume to be approximately 4% to 7% higher than the previous season, according to the first crop estimate for the 2014/2015 season, released by the South Africa Table Grape Industry (SATI).

“This expected increase is mainly due to new plantings coming into production as well as a general adjustment towards normal harvest volumes in areas affected by adverse weather during the previous season,” said SATI.

The current crop estimate for the 2014/2015 season was between 52,9 million and 54,3 million (4,5kg cartons), similar or slightly higher than the 2012/2013 crop.

According to SATI, producers from all grape-growing regions in SA reported that vineyards were healthy and farmers were expecting to harvest excellent quality grapes.

This was in sharp contrast with the situation last year when the industry suffered 3 million cartons in losses due to adverse weather conditions causing damage to crops in many of the main table grape production areas. Total grape intakes declined from just over 53,47 million cartons in 2012/2013 to about 50,3 million cartons for the 2013/2014 season.