The early grapes are now being harvested in Namibia and South Africa’s northern regions with the major portion of the produce feeding into the South African market.
According to horticultural online publication FreshPlaza.com, Namibian grape growers are keen to start exports, with news that Peruvian grapes are in shorter supply, plus a strong pull from the United States market.
According to the Namibian Grape Growers Association, Namibian grape exports by sea usually commence towards the end of November.
“Markets in Europe seem favourable, with the prospect of a stable run-up to Christmas.
It is too early to make any predictions since a good season is determined by so many factors, and we’re fairly conservative in how we approach the season,” says Carike Johnson, secretary of the Namibian Grape Growers Association.
Although she declined to give the association’s crop estimate for the 2023/2024 season; an industry source put the estimate for the Namibian grape harvest at 9,1 million cartons of 4,5kg each.
According to FreshPlaza, Early Sweet was the first grape variety to be harvested in the north of the Aussenkehr Valley by week 44, while most grape farms kicked off last week.
Early Sweet is followed by Flame and Prime.
According to Johnson, there is a lot of movement behind the scenes in the logistics space as the industry looks for alternatives to reduce its dependence on the South African port of Cape Town for its exports.
MSC’s Terminal Investment Company was awarded the contract to run the Walvis Bay Container Terminal in October last year. The news has opened up new possibilities for the industry even though Walvis Bay is further (over 900km) from the Aussenkehr Valley than Cape Town across the border.
“Options [to exit through Walvis Bay] are still on the table, but there are many conversations and a lot of planning needed to use it successfully. At this stage costs would, however, be significantly higher,” the organisation said in response to inquiries on the topic. – firstname.lastname@example.org
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