Fresh from the Southern Hemisphere
South America starts shipping grapes to the winter-bound north
The season has just begun, but forecasters are projecting a bumper crop of fruit exports from South America, led by grapes.
Grapes are the second-ranked (by value) fruit import in the U.S. (Bananas top the list.) In the summer, the States’ imported grapes come from North American trading partner Mexico. In the winter, the almost-exclusive source for grapes has been Chile. But in the last few years, Peru has moved into third place overall – and second place as a wintertime supplier of grapes to the U.S.
Peru’s share of the U.S. market is still very small: in 2009, it claimed a bit over 2%, compared to Mexico’s 19% and Chile’s 78%. But Peru increased shipments to the U.S. 25% last year and 30% the year before as it positioned itself as a reliable alternative source for grapes (to which buyers were able to turn last year when an early freeze damaged Chile’s harvest).
Developing agricultural exports is a major component of the government strategy to diversify the Peruvian economy. Table grapes have been a tactical tool and beneficiary of the strategy. Fernando Cillóniz, consultant to Provid, the Association of Table Grape Growers of Peru, recently told FreshPlaza.com that in the last decade the value of Peru’s grape exports have increased more than 30 times over, and the number of markets they reach has multiplied five-fold.
Most grape exports go to markets with which Peru has free trade agreements – 80% according to this Financial Times report on the agricultural renaissance in Peru. The U.S. and Hong Kong are top destinations (the U.S. currently leads by volume, Hong Kong by value, according to Datamyne statistics). Peru’s FTA with China, effective just this past March, has resulted in a doubling of grape exports to that country, according to Andina, Peru’s news agency. This November, Peru signed FTAs with Japan and South Korea, further extending its ties with Asia.
Date posted: December 1, 2010