A grape is the fruit that grows on the deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten fresh or used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins and grape seed oil. In South Africa grapes are grown either to be pressed, dried or for ready consumption from the table.

Table grapes are grapes intended for consumption while they are fresh, as opposed to grapes grown for wine production, juice production, or for drying into raisins. Table varieties usually have lower sugar content than wine grapes and are more flavourful when eaten. Their flavours, however, do not survive fermentation and their low sugar content means that any wine produced from them is weak, bland-tasting and easy to deteriorate.

Source: wikipedia.org (adapted); www.satgi.co.za; Table grape market value chain on www.dalrrd.gov.za 

International business environment

  • The top producers of table grapes are China, India, Turkey, Brazil and Uzbekistan. The top exporters are Chile, Peru, China, South Africa and the US (USDA, 2021).


Further reference:


South Africa: import and export

  • Table grapes exports from South Africa have gone to Europe (50%), UK (25%), Canada (7%), Far East (5%), Middle East (5%), South East Asaia (4%), Russia (2%), Africa (1%), US (1%) (FPEF, 2021).
  • Table grape imports came from Egypt, Spain, Namibia, UK (USDA, 2020).


Local business environment

  • The Orange River; the valleys of the Hex, Berg and Olifants Rivers; and Limpopo province are the main producers of table grapes (find the “Regions” option at www.satgi.co.za).
  • Table and dry grapes are one of the most important deciduous fruit grown in South Africa, taking into consideration their foreign exchange earnings, employment creation and linkage with support institutions.
  • Table grapes sold in the export markets generate a greater unit price than that achieved on the local market. For this reason, management orientation and understanding of the rules of the export markets are critical factors in the pathway to success in table grape production.
  • Up to 90% of the total production is exported, mostly to Europe and the UK where South Africa enjoys preferential market access through the Trade Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) between South Africa and the EU. Nominal GPV from table grapes is estimated to have reached R8.4 billion in 2020/21 (BFAP, 2021).
  • The bulk of sales to the consumer are by means of contractual agreements via preferred category suppliers to the large supermarket chains. Furthermore, various export companies or agents conduct work on the basis of consignment sales on behalf of the growers or packers. The industry operates in a deregulated environment where prices are determined by the market forces of demand and supply.

Further reference:

  • The reader is encouraged to visit www.satgi.co.za.  The Statistics Book and other documents provide a comprehensive picture of the industry.
  • The annual Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) Baseline covers the table grape industry. Find the document at www.bfap.co.za.
  • Also check whether the Directorate Marketing at the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) has resumed publishing the annual Table Grape Market Value Chain Profile at www.dalrrd.gov.za.


Further reference:


  • The reader is encouraged to visit www.satgi.co.za. The Statistics Book provides a comprehensive picture of the industry.
  • The annual Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) Baseline covers the table grape industry. Find the document at www.bfap.co.za.
  • Also worth reading is the latest annual Table Grape Market Value Chain Profile at www.dalrrd.gov.za.


Find the “Skills Development and Transformation” option at www.satgi.co.za

  • Hortfin is a R600 billion, special purpose development financing vehicle established by the deciduous, table grape and wine industries. The custodian of Hortfin is the deciduous fruit industry, supported by the Jobs fund and Land Bank. It targets mostly agri entrepreneurs from previously disadvantaged groups. Read more at www.hortgro.co.za/inclusive-growth/hortfin/.
  • The Power of the Grape “tells the story of empowerment projects and new partnerships in the North West Province, Mpumalanga, the Orange River, the Olifants River, the Berg River Valley and South Africa’s oldest grape region, the Hex River Valley”. Find this and the Success stories options under “Communications” on the South African Table Grape Industry website – www.satgi.co.za.

National strategy and government contact

  • Table grapes, citrus and vegetables are looked at in chapter 6 of the National Development Plan (NDP) as areas in which jobs can be created. It is an important crop for the country having high growth potential while being labour intensive (Sihlobo, 2018).
  • Find details of the different directorates at the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) under “Branches” at www.dalrrd.gov.za.
  • The Perishable Products Exports Control Board (PPECB) acts for government in terms of the Agricultural Products Standards Act 119 of 1990 and controls and certifies that quality standards of these products are met. See www.ppecb.com.

Role players


Associations and industry organisations

  • Fresh Produce Exporters’ Forum (FPEF) www.fpef.co.za
  • Fruit SA www.fruitsa.co.za
  • South African Society for Enology and Viticulture (SASEV) www.sasev.org
  • South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) www.satgi.co.za On the website find contact details for the regional co-ordinators in the Orange, Olifants, Berg and Hex river areas, and in Limpopo.
  • Sustainability Initiative of South Africa (SIZA) http://siza.co.za/


Training and research

  • ARC-Infruitec/Nietvoorbij www.arc.agric.za Training covers: (i) Selection of cultivars and site selection (ii) Soil preparation and establishment of trees (iii) Irrigation principles and practices (iv) Fertilisation principles and practices (v) Weed control (vi) Canopy management and suckering (vii) Identification and control of pests and diseases (viii)Harvesting and post-harvest handling of fruit.
  • Cape Peninsular University of Technology (CPUT) Horticulture www.cput.ac.za National Diplomas in agriculture and agricultural management, as well as BTech and MTech degrees focusing on viticulture and oenology
  • Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute www.elsenburg.com Table Grape Production is presented at Elsenburg as a complete Viticulture module both within the B Agric programme (3 year degree programme) and the Higher Certificate programme (2 year certificate programme).
  • HORTGRO Science www.hortgro-science.co.za
  • Institute for Grape and Wine Sciences (IGWS) http://igws.co.za A joint venture between the South African wine and table grape industries and Stellenbosch University to enhance the international competitiveness of the wine and table grape industries.
  • Lowveld College of Agriculture http://dardlea.mpg.gov.za Short courses in table grape production are given
  • South African Agri Academy www.agriacademy.co.za
  • Stellenbosch University Department of Horticultural Science www.sun.ac.za/horticulture Department of Viticulture and Oenology Tel: 021 808 4545

Find the “Knowledge Hub” and “Skills Development and Transformation” options at www.satgi.co.za.


The Table Grape Academy comprises the:

  • Viticulture (Table Grape Science) lecturing post at Stellenbosch University.
  • SATI/ARC/ Elsenburg Modular Course in Table Grape production.
  • Audio Visual Materials and other training materials used by the industry for the industry.
  • Various bursaries.
  • Various training and mentorship programmes for emerging producers and middle managers.

The Modular Course in Table Grape Production is presented by SATI, ARC-Infruitec/Nietvoorbij and Elsenburg.

Developing skills and best practices for grape farmers in the Northern Cape


A long-term empowerment programme in the Northern Cape has helped previously disadvantaged farmers improve their grape farming knowledge and financial management skills. The project is an Agricultural Research Council (ARC) led collaboration between several government and non-governmental organisations, as well as two private companies in the fruit and wine industry. Since 1997, the project has offered farmers days, business management training courses, workshops, and on-farm consultations to the communities of Eksteenskuil and Releaboga. The project has resulted in many new wine and raisin grape vineyards being established.

Source: Agricultural Research Council (ARC)

Companies: exporters

Find the list of table grape exporters in the FPEF Export Directory at www.fpef.co.za.


Companies: services and inputs

Websites and publications

  • Refer to websites listed earlier on this page e.g. www.satgi.co.za.
  • The annual Fresh Fruit Exporter Directory gives trade statistics for the table grapes and other fruit sectors. Download it at the Fresh Produce Exporters’ Forum (FPEF) website, www.fpef.co.za.
  • The annual Food Trade SA publication is another good source of export statistics for fresh produce. Find it at https://ppecb.com/documents
  • Table grapes was previously covered in the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) annual publications on market value chains. Check to see if these are being published again on the Directorate Marketing web pages at www.dalrrd.gov.za. The Abstract of Agricultural Statistics on the DALRRD website (take “Branches”, “Administration” and “Statistics and economic analysis”) includes statistics on grapes – production, sales on markets, exports, purchases for processing etc. DALRRD also has “Production guidelines: grapes” which can be downloaded under the “Resource centre” option on its website.
  • The ARC-Infruitec/Nietvoorbij has a list of numerous publications on table grape production. This can be found on its pages at www.arc.agric.za. Also from them is series of full colour pamphlets discussing how to identify, control and prevent various diseases and pests in the vineyard.
  • CD Roms from the ARC-Plant Protection Research (PPR) include: Crop Pests, vol. 1: Deciduous Fruit, Grapes and Berries. Write to booksales [at] arc.agric.za or infopri [at] arc.agric.za.
  • Consult the AgriSETA Learner Guide Primary Agriculture “Harvesting agricultural crops“.
  • Farming.com. Available at www.africanfarming.com/fruit-production-get-right-rootstock-planting-grapes/


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