The table grape season has officially begun in China and with that, the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) has launched a market development campaign in China
is the first of its kind and a new opportunity for South African
horticulturalists to showcase their premium grape varieties.
SATI and Goodfarmer, a Shanghai-based fresh produce importer, hosted a booth at the Jiangnonghui Fruit Wholesale market in April where they drew attention to the many fine grape exports of the Western Cape.
This year marks the first that Chinese consumers will experience “China Specification” grapes. The newly minted grading was created for the discerning Chinese market.
African varieties like Sweet Globe, Crimson Seedless, and Sweet Sapphire,
Market-goers were treated to a viewing of the “Lion Awakening Ceremony” to commemorate the start of the table grape season and the new alliance. An important animal in both Chinese and South African culture, the lion’s image was used as a logo for the partnership.
General manager at Shanghai Goodfarmer Apple, Eric Zheng, complimented South Africa on its natural beauty and grape-growing climate, noting that this year’s grapes were among the best in the world.
Willem Bestbier, SATI CEO, said the campaign was an opportunity for South African exporters and growers as well as Chinese consumers and importers to come together.
Zheng said he welcomed more chances to work with SATI and expose a wider Chinese audience to South African table grape varieties.
Historically Europe has been the major export destination for South African grapes but China’s recent appetite for Sweet Globes and Sweet Joys means that the Western Cape’s near 40 000 table grape farmers can pad their wallets in a time where most industries are grappling with the prospect of collapse.
In February 2021, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Ivan Meyer, said SATI’s alliance with China may boost agricultural exports in the region of 5% in the next half-decade. The resulting growth would create an estimated 19 000 jobs in that period.
Meyer said the table grape farming sub-sectors bounce back would be pivotal to the province’s recovery as a whole.