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Mexico forecasting record export shipments of table grapes for 2022

By
Tim Linden

The Mexican Table Grapes Growers Association (AALPUM) recently held a live video conference to report that more than 25 million boxes of table grapes will be available for export from the state of Sonora in Mexico during the 2022 season.

AALPUM president Marco Antonio Camou presented the information in Spanish while John Pandol of Pandol Bros. Inc., who is the current grape division chairman of the Fresh Produce Association of Americas, relayed the numbers in English. Using a deck of graphics, the pair revealed that this first estimate of the season predicts about a 20 percent increase over the 2021 harvest with an estimated 25.5 million boxes from Sonora. Over the past several years, table grape production in the state of Jalisco has increased with some experts estimating that another couple million boxes of exportable grapes will be produced in that state. An exportable crop of more than 27 million boxes would be the largest on record. In 2019, Sonora produced more than 23.6 million cartons, which was its record to that point. Jalisco would have chipped in a lesser amount in 2019 than they will this year.

Pandol did caution that harvesting from Sonora was about six weeks away and so other factors, such as weather, could impact the size of the crop. “So far, so good,” he said, noting that weather has been good with no negative occurrences.

He also noted that the numbers represent “what could be harvested,” which he referred to as the “potential crop.” He added one more caveat which is that the estimate does not predict where the fruit will be sold but rather how much fruit will be harvest. While the U.S. market will receive almost all the production, there is the possibility that some production will go elsewhere.

This Sonora estimate reflected a 19.6 increase over the 2021 crop, a 15.8 percent increase over 2020, and about a 7.4 percent increase over 2019. 

For purposes of this estimate, the association separated out seven grape categories and compared the 2022 estimate with 2021 production. In each case, there is an increase. Flame Seedless is the largest category with an estimated 9.3 million boxes waiting to be harvested, which compares to 8.1 million boxes last year.

The category labeled mid-season greens is next with almost 6.1 million boxes this year compared to more than 4.9 million boxes a year ago. Early greens are expected to check in with about 4.4 million cartons in 2022 compared with 3.6 million last year. Mid-season red varieties are predicted to produce close to 2.7 million boxes compared to 2.2 million a year ago. For the season, black varieties should check in with more than 1.5 million boxes compared with less than 1.4 million a year ago.

The association also separated out two of the newer varieties in this year’s count. It has predicted that Cotton Candy production will increase by almost 65 percent to 1.2 million cartons compared to 751,000 boxes in 2021. Sweet Globes production is expected to increase to about 333,000 boxes compared to 278,000 a year ago, which represents almost a 20 percent increase. The presenters noted that any variety not singled out was grouped in with its larger grape color category.

The harvest season in Sonora is expected to get underway in early May and last until mid-July with weather, volume and the market combining to determine the end of the season. For its estimate, AALPUM predicted about 7.5 million boxes in May, 16.6 million boxes in July and close to 1.5 million boxes in July. The majority of the crop is expected to be shipped during a six-week period stretching from week 20 (May 22) through week 25 (June 26).

Tim Linden

Tim Linden

About Tim Linden  |  email

Tim Linden grew up in a produce family as both his father and grandfather spent their business careers on the wholesale terminal markets in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Tim graduated from San Diego State University in 1974 with a degree in journalism. Shortly thereafter he began his career at The Packer where he stayed for eight years, leaving in 1983 to join Western Growers as editor of its monthly magazine. In 1986, Tim launched Champ Publishing as an agricultural publishing specialty company.

Today he is a contract publisher for several trade associations and writes extensively on all aspects of the produce business. He began writing for The Produce News in 1997, and currently wears the title of Editor at Large.

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