The strongest export season of South African grapes is full of challenges, with exports to Russia falling sharply by 21%.
Recently, the South African Industry Association (SATI) said that this year may be the largest export season for the industry so far. However, due to multiple factors such as domestic and international logistics in South Africa, increased input costs and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, this season is also one of the most challenging production seasons in the industry.
In recent years, the yield of raisins in South Africa has been increasing year by year. According to data released by SATI, South Africa's total production of grapes reached 74618445 cases as of the 11th week. According to the 4.5kg/ box calculation, the total production has reached 336000 tons, an increase of 9.1% over the same period last year and a substantial increase of 17.4% over the same period in 2020.
In terms of exports, exports of South African grapes to Europe, Canada, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa have exceeded the level of the same period last year. But exports to Russia fell sharply by 21% compared with the same period last year, and exports to Asia, the United States and the far East were also affected.
SATI says it is exploring all possible ways to solve the problems facing the industry. The Association held a meeting with Thoko Didiza, South African Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, to discuss the impact of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine on South Africa's fruit industry. At the meeting, key participants in the South African fruit industry drafted a document with recommendations on logistics, port efficiency, tariff review and market development.
SATI said that the association has been in contact with Transnet on port operation issues over the past few months. Transnet is a South African state-owned transport company that operates South Africa's major ports, including the ports of Durban and Cape Town, as well as South Africa's major rail network. SATI hopes to keep in touch with Transnet to improve the efficiency of the port and enable the fruit to reach the market at its best.
At present, the harvest of raisins in South Africa is still in progress, and the total output has reached the previous estimate of 72.8 million-77.7 million cases. Judging from the harvest in the producing areas, the harvest season in the northern provinces, Orange River and Olefinz River areas is over, and the harvest progress in the Berg River and Hecker River areas will continue for another two weeks. Among them, the output of the Berg River area is expected to exceed 19.7 million cases, and that of the Hecke River area is expected to exceed 24.3 million cases.
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