Reported by: `Customs Today Report March 9, 2015
KABUL: Director of the Raisin, Fruits and Vegetables Export Development Administration, Muhammad Azim Hashemi, said during a meeting that despite a growing demand for and increased production of Afghan raisin products, close to 20 processing plants are expected to shut in the coming year.
“With the help that we have received from the World Bank for better packaging and processing of raisins we were able to increase exports this year, resulting in more markets for raisins from Afghanistan,” he said.
At the moment, four different types of raisins are exported from Afghanistan to other Asian countries, Europe and the Americas. And just this year, 22,000 tons of red raisins have been exported abroad. Experts say increased grape crop yields, new methods of processing, standardization of packaging have all contributed to the rise in raisin exports.
Officials from the Raisin, Fruits and Vegetables Export Development Administration have reported a 13 percent hike in raisin exports from Afghanistan. However, they have also warned that much of the country’s production capacity is about to go offline in part because of the lack of support the industry has received from local and national government.
Nevertheless, the potential for growth in Afghanistan’s raisin industry is threatened by challenges facing factories around the country. At the moment, out of 30 raisin processing factories nationwide, just 13 are operational. Experts say the lack of reliable electricity and financial support from the government are the primary factors behind the stunted growth of the raisin industry.
Most women work in raisin processing factories. Zalmai, a raisin factory owner, told TOLONews that if the government provided more support for the industry, the would be able to provide many more employment opportunities, especially for women. “If our work improves and we are supported, we can hire a lot more workers,” he said.
Meanwhile, economic analysts have said that, considering the growing demand for raisins from Afghanistan, the government should seize the opportunity and support the industry’s growth. They have asserted that such a strategy could help bolster government revenues and provide much needed employment opportunities.
Source: Customs Today <http://customstoday.com.pk/afghan-raisins-export-facing-processing-units-closure-2/>
Raisin crop comes in short on tonnage
Sep 24, 2014
California’s 2014 raisin grape crop was expected to be off the vines and lying on drying trays before Sept. 20. That’s the deadline for growers to have them on the ground to qualify for insurance should rain damage the grapes before they are picked up and put into bins.
Just about all of the U.S. raisin supply is produced in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties.
Argentina: Raisin sector expects to recover in 2015
According to a recent report by the USDA, the production and exports of Argentinean raisins are expected to rebound in 2015. Production for that year is estimated at 33,000 tons, 29,500 of which will be exported and the rest will be sent to the domestic market.
Currently, the province of San Juan, in western Argentina, produces 95% of the country's raisins while the rest is mainly produced in the provinces of Mendoza and La Rioja.
BY ROBERT RODRIGUEZ
The Fresno BeeAugust 15, 2014
Two years ago, growers of the versatile Thompson seedless grape were being wooed by the raisin and wine industries as competition for their fruit pushed prices to record highs.
But factors have changed this year and wine grape buyers expect prices to tumble. How far remains to be seen. Some say the $325 a ton many central San Joaquin Valley farmers received in 2012 from wineries is not likely to be repeated.
"There is little activity to almost no activity from wineries that are traditionally buying grapes this time of year," said Nat DiBuduo, president of the Fresno-based Allied Grape Growers. "They are just not out there."
DiBuduo and others say a rise in imported bulk wine, competition from other beverages and healthy inventories of wine have weakened demand for Valley raisin grapes.
In good years, the raisin grape varieties grown in the Valley are used to make juice concentrate, brandy or kosher wine.
But back-to-back bumper crops have filled the tanks at the wineries.
"We are at the point where we are facing capacity issues," DiBuduo said. "It's like: There is no room at the inn."
Also working against California grape growers are bulk wine imports from Australia, Argentina and Spain.
Winemakers also are facing tougher competition from the growing craft beer, hard cider and distilled spirits industries, said Erica Moyer, partner/broker at Turrentine Brokerage in Novato.
"There is no question this is going to be a challenging year," Moyer said.
Several farmers say that with seemingly little interest from the wineries, making raisins may be a better option.
"This year, I am seriously considering it," said Paul Lanfranco, a Kerman-area grape grower.
"It would be nice to compare what the wineries are paying but at some point I am going to have to make a decision."
Lanfranco, who has about 400 acres of raisin variety grapes, has talked with one packer who said the price may fall in the range of $1,700 to $1,800 a ton.
The actual raisin price still is being negotiated between the industry's packers and the growers representative, the Raisin Bargaining Association.
Glen Goto, chief executive officer of the association, is optimistic about this year's crop and price. Last year, California raisin farmers produced a bumper crop and the industry packers still managed to increase sales by 18% over the previous year.
This year, poor weather and the drought have contributed to a smaller crop.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates this year's raisin crop will be 13% smaller.
"Even though there is still some question about how many acres will go to make raisins or go to the wineries, I am still very optimistic we can move the volume because of what we did last year," Goto said.
Goto would like to see at least the same price growers received last year: $1,650.
They achieved a record price in 2012 at $1,900.
"We would like to start at $1,650 and go from there," Goto said.