Through the uncertain times we are currently facing across the globe with rapidly evolving COVID-19 guidance in each country, one constant thing we are seeing across our business is an increase in demand for fresh fruit.
As a global fresh produce grower and supplier, COVID-19 is of course bound to affect all areas of our business to varying degrees, however we would like to take this opportunity to share our candid global supply update.
The Indian Grape season would usually be entering its final push as we move towards April, however this year’s supply is significantly lagging behind forecast due to the weather pattern experienced in the latter part of 2019. It is now clear that the season will also end prematurely due to restrictions being placed as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis.
On Friday 19th March the Indian government made it illegal for more than five people to congregate in the same place. This meant it became illegal to operate our pack house with immediate effect, it is now closed for the remainder of the season. On Tuesday 24th March the further announcement is the country is in complete lock down until 14th April which means currently any packed stock is not able to be moved either at this stage. We are seeking dispensation to allow the fruit packed to be shipped this weekend.
Total volumes for the year against 2020 will then be between 2,500 – 3,000 containers lower this year. Fruit currently packed awaiting dispatch is also facing challenges as transportation and port operations are greatly reduced.
The Chilean Government declared a National State of Emergency on 18th March and this has been followed up by a curfew being placed on citizens between the hours of 10pm and 5am. This curfew has a direct impact on the ability of our farm and pack house to operate efficiently with reduced available hours for transporting fruit in to the pack house and onward to the port. The current situation in Chile may escalate to a full lock down within days.
At the Jupiter packing facility we are enforcing measures to keep our employee’s as safe as possible. Temperature checks are being undertaken on all employee’s using an infrared thermometer before they are granted to work, and increased sanitisation protocols are being followed. These measures are coupled with making some changes to pack house operations to implement the social distancing guidance. Despite all these measures it is expected that from this weekend we will see a 24 hour lock down being implemented and the impact in labour availability is already being seen.
Currently the country has exported 46 million cartons compared to 50 million at this time last year. By the end of the season the total export is expected to be 60-62 million where last year finished at 79 million. So in the next 6 weeks shipping will only be 14-16 million compared to 29 million last year
As we wrap up the Moroccan season and turn our thoughts to production from our own farm in South Africa, a lock down will commence in light of COVID-19. This will commence at midnight on 26th March, as announced by the South African government and will impact all citizens but with specific exemptions for agriculture. Currently these exemptions will allow us to continue to harvest and pack our fruit, and following our actions in Chile we are enforcing all good practice measures available to help keep our employees as safe as possible.
In South Africa we have begun shipping lemons from our own farm and this will be closely followed by Grapefruit packing in week 14, the easy peeler and Valencia orange season will then follow.
Confident moving forward
All food producing regions in the world are having restrictions imposed upon them and the availability of labour to harvest, pack and distribute fresh produce is being severely affected.
With good planning and communication we are very confident of securing fruit for all our customers. Never has proactive planning been more important.
Contact our sales team
For further information on how you can get your hands on our available fresh produce, including our core range of citrus, grapes, lime, avocado, melon, pineapple, kiwi and mango speak to our sales team in the UK on +44 (0) 1952 822 200, in the Netherlands on +31 88 3 777 111 or via email at email@example.com
The Jupiter Group is a leader in the global fresh produce market. Ranked 17th in the 2020 The Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200, Jupiter grows and supplies new and traditional varieties of grapes and citrus alongside melons, pineapples, limes, avocados and kiwi.