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SOUTH AFRICAN GRAPE EXPORTS DIP IN 2013 CALENDAR YEAR

South African table grape exports dropped by 20% during the 2013 calendar year, according to statistics released yesterday from the South African Table Grape Association.

Overall exports leading up to week 52 totaled 7.9 million cartons, equivalent to 4.5 kilograms each. The number is down from 9.9 million cartons in 2012 and 12.6 million cartons in 2011.

Volume fell most notably for the United Kingdom, down 55% to 1.5 million boxes. South Africa’s largest market, northern Europe, grew slightly, up just under 2% to 5.4 million boxes.

The nation’s largest table grape producing region, Orange River, suffered extensive frosts earlier in the season that took a notable toll on year-end volume. Production dropped 16% in the region, down to 8.8 million boxes.

The only major grape producing region to report an increase in volume was the Olifants River, up 24% to 441,287 boxes. This value is down, however, from 660,050 boxes in 2011 and 509,734 boxes in 2010.

Currently, weather in the Orange River region has been described as optimal for packing. Early harvest areas finished packing in week one, while later areas will continue packing Thompson Seedless and Crimson Seedless through week four.

Reported volume for all packed varieties in Orange River was down 10%-15%.

In the Hex River Valley, heavy rain showers delayed packing for Flame Seedless, Prime, Starlight, Ralli Seedless and Sugraone. Damages were anticipated but not yet quantified for the Flame crop.