Agronometrics in Charts: Chilean grape exports reaping the benefits of varietal replacement

In this installment of the ‘Agronometrics In Charts’ series, Sarah Ilyas studies the state of the Chilean grape season. Each week the series looks at a different horticultural commodity, focusing on a specific origin or topic visualizing the market factors that are driving change.

The ASOEX (Chilean Fruit Exporters Association) Table Grape Committee has issued its fourth export prediction for the 2022/23 season. It represents an increase of 1.2% over the previous estimate, with exports projected at 555,483 tons, or 67,742 million (8.2kg) boxes. Although marginally higher than the projection from December, the current forecast indicates a decline of 8.9% from 2021/22. This is mostly due to varietal replacement within the Chilean table grape sector.

This year will mark a significant milestone. For the first time, more than half of the exported volume will comprise of novel varieties, making up 53% of the total. North America will continue to be the main destination for Chilean grapes, taking around 37.2 million boxes, followed by Asia with almost 14 million boxes and Europe with 9 million boxes.

According to Ignacio Caballero, marketing director of ASOEX, production volume, harvestable volume, weather conditions, shipping costs and labor force availability will be the determining factors for the season, he also stated that new varieties will account for almost 37 million boxes, while traditional varieties, including Red Globe, will make up around 31 million boxes this season. “More than 50 per cent of grape exports will consist of new varieties, especially in white and red grapes. The new white varieties will exceed 13 million boxes, black varieties 4 million boxes and red varieties 18 million,” he said.

Nicolas Damm of Rio Blanco notes that freight costs and the costs at the destination are really affecting the final results for the grower. Though hopefully, the logistics picture will be better for Chile this season. The grape association has worked with the Chilean ports to improve their operations and efficiency. “Shipping companies are working closely with the ports in the U.S. for logistics to be better,” he said.

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