SOUTH AFRICA – The 2017/18 table grape crop will likely be marginally above the 5-year average of about 57.9 million cartons, according to the SA Table Grape Industry (Sati).
Its first crop estimate is between 58.9 million and 63 million cartons.
According to Sati, the early production regions, namely the northern provinces as well the Orange River regions, are unaffected by the drought and expected to have a slightly bigger harvest than last season.
The Olifants River, Berg River and Hex River regions are expected to have somewhat lower volumes, although in line with the 5-year average crop sizes for each region.
Sati, however, cautions that it is still too early to predict what the full effect of the drought and any changes in the weather will ultimately have on the crop of the two latter regions of the Berg River and Hex River.
Although the Western Cape, with its three production regions, is affected by the persistent drought, the effect on the estimate at a national level is expected to be less pronounced.
This is because of the climatically diverse industry in SA, increased hectares in production, the continued shift to higher yielding new generation varieties and the resilience and adaptation of table grape farmers, according to Sati.
Willem Bestbier, CEO of Sati, said producers will firstly ensure that all programmes and contracted business are met and continue to focus quality.