Chilean grape prices soar with expected 22% increase in production

In this episode of the “Agronometrics In Charts” series, Sarah Ilyas studies the state of the Chilean grape market in the United States. Each week, the series examines a different horticultural product, focusing on a specific origin or topic, visualizing the market factors driving change.

After a steady decline in production for four years due to intermittent droughts and unfavorable weather conditions in Chile, things are finally starting to look up. According to USDA GAIN Report, table grape production is expected to increase by 22%, reaching 805,000 metric tons in 2021-22. Diversification into proprietary varieties leads to increased yields. On the other hand, growers are still struggling with issues such as rising input costs and exorbitant fertilizer rates.

With nearly 30% of its area devoted to grapes, Chile has established itself as the main producer of table grapes in the southern hemisphere and in the world.

The arid climate provides optimal conditions for the production of high quality fruit. Additionally, Chile continues to seek new and diverse grape varieties. Although the country is famous for its varieties such as Red Globe, Crimson and Thompson Seedless, it has popularized a multitude of new varieties on the world market, focusing on superior condition, taste and size.

“During the 2021-22 season, shipments of new varieties are expected to reach 35 million boxes, followed by traditional varieties with 32 million boxes, and Red Globe with just over 17 million boxes,” says Karen BruxGeneral Manager of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association.

“Although there are still traditional varieties such as Red Globe, our statistics show a continuous decline in their export volume,” she adds.

Ronald Bown, President of ASOEX, said: “In this first estimate for the 2021-2022 table grape shipping season, we have predicted that Chile will export approximately 84.6 million standardized 8.2 kilo boxes. . This projection reflects a 14.9% increase compared to the 2019-2020 season and a 29.3% increase compared to the 2020-2021 season, during which production was affected by unexpected summer rains. »

The maximum volume recorded this season was 11,000 tons, an increase of 36% compared to the previous year. Week 7 saw volumes drop to 3,000 tons. Chile generally ships until the end of April with a peak supply from mid-February to the end of March. Incoming volumes are expected to peak in the coming weeks.

(Source: USDA Market News via Agrometry. Agrometry users can view this graph with live updates here)

Bringing top quality grapes to market is currently Chile’s main concern. Logistical difficulties are currently hampering the achievement of these objectives. A pest risk assessment of a long-awaited systems approach was recently released by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for imports of Chilean table grapes; this implementation is likely to diversify access to the Chilean market by improving quality.

Although an approval is currently pending, ratification of this proposal would mean that it would no longer be necessary for Chilean exporters of table grapes to use methyl bromide fumigation on fruit shipped to the United States. says Karen Brux.

Prices were at their highest in five years. The peak price this season was $33.33 per package in week 5, a 51% spike from the corresponding week last season.

(Source: USDA Market News via Agrometry. Agrometry users can view this graph with live updates here)

The last two months have seen low volumes of all varietal groups, particularly seedless white and seedless red.which kept prices up throughout the period, with prices peaking at $31.7.

The outlook for the rest of the season will largely depend on the usual push and pull in supply and demand as well as factors such as rising input costs and high labor rates. .

(Source: USDA Market News via Agrometry. Agrometry users can view this graph with live updates here)

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All US domestic product prices represent spot market at shipping point (ie warehouse/air-conditioned warehouse, etc.). For imported fruit, price data represents the spot market at the point of entry.

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