Dear Readers.

Getting now direction the end of April it is no longer a question but a fact that this was not the great season everybody had foreseen and had hoped for.

Everything looked marvelous, to say the least, in the beginning of January but after the disasterous rainfall, a few days later, the enthousiasm was totally gone. A tremendous lot of berries were damaged by the rain and thus farmers were facing an extremely high percentage of “swartbekkies”.
As such nothing is wrong with these raisins but to make a real choice quality these “swartbekkies” have to be removed totally.
It means that the percentage of choice, which normally runs between 75 and 90 percent, comes this season, unfortunately, not higher than 50/60 percent (in the best case scenario).

In other words, packers can make the same product but logically, in the end, there will be more than normal standard-quality left or even worse ……..more industrial quality comes available. Putting one and one together the result will be that the final outcome under the line will surely be less positive as in other years, to put it mildly.

It shows again that whatever commodity we take as an example, the weather is always playing such a decisive role that everybody, in the field of agricultural products, has to be very careful and cautious in the way he is acting resp. taking responsability on the buying or the selling side. Cautiousness that is the word!! We mean that in every aspect farmers, packers, buyers and sellers must handle carefully.
It is a very old but still a good medicin/advice not to put everything in one basket and having said that, it has turned out in practice that it is better to buy, to sell and also to deliver in three different episodes, so that the average of decisions makes the year’s result less vulnerable.

From time to time we hear the saying around us: Well, ……… good times, bad times. You can even hear that in the songs, as well.
Anyway, we should learn that despite all modern expedients there is not much which can be done against the unpredictability of the weather-gods. The most important thing to do is to build up enough savings so that one can overcome certain unexpected disasters, which shall always be there (think of the crop in 2011.!!!)

Again, we have to go back to the instructive manners the generations before us liked to express themselves…….. One man’s poison is another man’s meat.

Well, enough about a bad season and good times, bad times! Let’s look up front into the new crop.
In three, four month’s time the beginning of a new season will start seriously. Let’s hope that 2016/2017 will be one of the better seasons’!!!

CHILE: it is always hard to find out exactly what the final result of the raisin-crop, overthere, shall be. If the total of the crop should finally be smaller again (jumbos) we have rather to think of higher prices for Thompsons, specially for the later months because we have the feeling that S-Africa cannot fill the gap. In other words it has to come from California and/or Chile and both countries will not give it away.

TURKEY: there have been some rumours about frost at the beginning of this season. How serious it will work out, we have to keep our fingers crossed until it will become clear what the impact has been in the months to come. For the time being there is, despite the smaller crop, enough merchandise which still has to find a home. Besides that, for real Thompson medium users, the Turkish raisins are not a real substitute. Until we know exactly what the impact of the Chlorpyrifos-problem will be, we should not fill the lines with quess-work, in other words putting more oil on the fire. Of course we must realize it is a serious problem but let first the experts do their work.

CALIFORNIA: So far there are no reports from that side of the pond. Neitther negative nor positive. Only in May/June we might receive the proper indications whether it will be again a good crop. Anyway: a good, a bad or a fantastic cropm, we do not expect the prices will come off.April