HERMOSILLO, SONORA, MEXICO -- Mexico is expected to export 15.85 million boxes of table grapes this spring. This is a decrease by 24 percent, or 5.16 million boxes, from last year’s record crop of 21 million boxes. This year’s total is regarded by the Mexican grape industry as a normal level, with plenty of grapes for retail promotions this spring. Grape quality is regarded as very high.
The main Sonoran grape harvest is to begin in the first days of May. This grape deal will run into early July.
These numbers were released to The Produce News early April 20 as Mexico’s grape industry and its suppliers gathered at Hermosillo’s Los Lagos golf club for the announcement. Juan Laborin, director general of AALPUM, indicated that the estimate was derived from his contact with every grower, asking for last year’s final export numbers. The growers individually provided 2018 estimates for different types of grapes.
AALPUM, the Mexican grape growers association, is based in Hermosillo. AALPUM is an acronym for Asociación Agrícola Local de Productores de Uva de Mesa.
Mid-season green seedless grapes for export are expected to take the largest hit in production in 2018, dropping 30 percent from a total of 4.4 million cases in 2017 to 3.1 million cases this year.
Early green seedless are expected to be down 28 percent to 2.6 million cases. Early green seedless production in 2017 was 3.6 million cases.
Red seedless varieties this year will be down 23 percent from 10.1 million cases last season. The 2018 estimate is for 7.8 million boxes of red seedless table grapes from Mexico.
Red seeded, black and other varieties are each expected to be down 15 percent this spring. Red seeded export production this year is estimated to be 584,000 cases. Black grape volume is anticipated to be 1.1 million boxes. Other varieties should total 713,000 boxes.
Laborin was to offer full comments on the estimate mid-day in Hermosillo, but in recent weeks, he and other industry leaders had stressed that last year's crop had broken all records. Early unofficial guesstimates proved to be highly accurate at 16 million. That volume is regarded a normal. Thus, they stressed retailers will have plenty of promotable volumes and noted the industry will need those promotions to move their healthy crop.
The volume is lower than last year because of unusually high heat in Sonora in December, January and February. In late February, there was frost damage in some districts which lowered productivity. While there are new production areas coming into production in Mexico, those table grape volumes outside of Sonora for 2018 are not yet significant.