Peruvian grape imports by the U.S. are expected to increase this season, according to a new report from the USDA.
The new forecast has grape exports from Peru for the 2018-19 shipping season show an increase of 7 percent.
From October 2018 to September 2019 Peruvian grape production is predicted to rise 7 percent, totaling 540,000 metric tons, according to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
“Grape production is recovering after heavy El Niño rains and unstable temperatures in early 2017 delayed harvest, reduced yields, and reduced quality,” the USDA said in the report.
With domestic consumption estimated at 271,000 metric tons, the USDA projects grape exports at 385,000 metric tons in 2018-19, up 7 percent from the previous year.
For the calendar year 2017, the USDA reported the U.S. was the top export market for Peru grape exports, taking 33 percent of the total volume.
Peru’s dry coast and 12 hours of sunlight daily, combined with irrigation, allows Peru to mature its grape crop 55 percent faster than neighboring countries, according to the report.
Grapes are grown primarily in Ica with 41 percent of the production and Piura with 22 percent of the production. The total area under cultivation, is estimated at more than 74,000 acres.
While the red globe variety dominates production — it remains popular in the growing Chinese market. The report notes growers are moving to higher-value varieties to supply other markets such as Crimson seedless, flame seedless, thompson seedless and sugraon.
One acre of grapes in Peru requires an initial investment of approximately $16,000, not counting the cost of land.
The report said about 30 percent of the cost of production is soil preparation and the irrigation system, 25 percent is establishing the trellis, and 14 percent goes toward the plant itself.
At $3,070 per metric ton, prices in the U.S. market were 27 percent higher than the average export price of $2,419 per metric ton in 2017. In the same period, the U.S. market represented 42 percent by value and 33 percent by volume of total Peruvian grape exports.