You may have already known that a grape is a fruit, of the deciduous woody vines of the flowering plant genus Vitis and is used for winemaking as well as grape juice, jam, vinegar, grape seed oil, raisins, jelly, etc .
In this article we are going to explore almost everything you need to know about grapes and its benefits including its economic contribution to global economy.
For the purpose of clarity and easy understanding, in this article I would like to categorize grape into two major parts; the vitis vinifera grapevine which is mostly grown in Europe and some parts of Central Asia and the Mediterranean and vitis labrusca and its derivatives which are grown in the Northern America and some part of Asia.
In fact the largest quantity of the latter is grown in the United States of America; Eastern part of USA to be specific, because of its climatic conditions, and some in Canada (Quebec mostly).
According to FAOSTAT, 2001, the total production of grapes is about 61.95 million tons from 7.3 million ha.
CULTIVATION OF GRAPEVINES
Grapes are very sensitive to weather and so its survival greatly depends on it. Grapes emphatically thrive in long warm subtropics. It is most suitable in a dry summer and cool winter climate regions.
It does not thrive in arctic climate. According to FAO, “in climates with a cool winter, the grape can survive temperatures down to -18°C, but once new growth begins, minor frost will kill the fruiting shoots. Rapid and succulent growth of shoots starts when mean daily temperatures reach l0°C.
During flowering the rate of shoot growth declines and stops when the grapes are mature. The time from flowering to maturity can be expressed as the sum of mean daily temperature above 10°C or S(T – l0°C), which is about 900 degree-days for early varieties and 2000 for late varieties.
Under cool to moderate warm weather, fruits ripen slowly and produce dry table wines of good quality. In warmer climates, the heat before and during ripening favours a high sugar content, which makes fruits better suited for port and sherry production.
During and after harvest no new shoot growth should take place but leaves should be retained. In the autumn shoots, then also called canes, become woody and lose their leaves.”
Grapes thrive on almost every type of soil, but do not do well on soils with high level of salt. Soil is very important to the yield and quality of grapes as it has been proven that it produces more quality yields under light soil with low salinity.
It is important to note that grapes do not require frequent irrigation. Because grape is a perennial crop, it has the tendency to survive under limited water supply.
It is only recommended to irrigate grapes when winter rainfall is insufficient. Irrigation methods are Furrow irrigation and sprinkler irrigation.
Furrow irrigation is mostly recommended and more advantageous when irrigation is required during ripening period.
NUTRITION CONTENT OF GRAPES
Grapevines have a large chunk of water and inundated with relevant vitamins like Vitamins K and C with a minor quantity of fats. Rich in Minerals, sugar, and organic acids, they boost immunity and help digestion. According to Wikipedia, here’s a breakdown of grapevine nutrition content.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||288 kJ (69 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||0.9 g|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||1%
THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF GRAPES
A lot of people are yet to grasp the wonders that this fruit does to the health of the human body but we are going to take a little time to shed some light on that.
REPAIR OF BODY TISSUES
Filled with Vitamin C also known as ascorbic acid, grapevines help in the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. It could also help in other body functions, including formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth. It may also lower the risk of heart disease.
Grapes contain 191mg of potassium which is very good. Potassium is a key mineral and an electrolyte which helps our muscles work, including the muscles that control our heartbeat and breathing. This suggests that the consumption of grapes could strengthen the heart.
BLOOD PRESSURE, STROKE, AND INFERTILITY.
Blood clotting is one of the causes of high blood pressure, infertility, stroke and pulmonary diseases. Grapes contain a good quantity of Vitamin K, which plays a key role in dealing with blood clotting and bone metabolism. It could also help in the regulation of blood calcium levels.
The inability of the body to metabolize glucose is one of the main causes of diabetes. Thiamine (which is vitamin B1) and Riboflavin helps in the breakdown of carbohydrates to energy. It also enhances glucose metabolism which is important in the function of muscle, nerve and heart. It is also good for chronic alcoholics who are at the danger of suffering from cerebellar degeneration, and cardiovascular dysfunction because of lack of Vitamin B1. Riboflavin also helps in the breakdown of protein and fats to produce energy, and at the same time allows oxygen to be used by the body.
Grapes contain 181mg of water and a good quantity of fiber. Taken regularly can keep the body hydrated and avoiding constipation.
Being rich in vitamin B, C E and K, grape products can help support brain health. In fact Vitamin B especially Vitamin B12 is deemed as one of the best Vitamin for brain health. Relevant researches have also shown that absence of vitamin B12 is associated with poor brain health.
A limited number of studies have linked grapefruit and some other fruits to be helpful in the management/prevention of cancer. For instance, grapefruits contain bioactive compounds which could act as cancer chemo-preventive agents (Miyata et al., 2002).
Vitamins A, B, Riboflavin, C, E, Niacin, and many more are resident in grapefruits and are very good to the wellness of the eyes.
THE CONS OF GRAPEFRUITS/DERIVATIVES.
- Excessive consumption of Resveratrol; one of the compounds found in grapesmay have side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and liver dysfunction in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Doses of 2.0g or more daily are considered overdose.
- Compounds like Phytochemicals which is found in grapes can be harmful when consumed in a very large quantity.
- Grapefruits can reduce how the body breaks some sedative medications and therefore advised not to be taken when taking sedative medications. For example, Grapefruitjuice can lower the rate at which the body breaks down scopolamine. Therefore consumption grapefruit juice while taking scopolamine might heighten the effects and side effects of scopolamine
ECONOMIC IMPACT OF GRAPEFRUIT
To understand the impact of grapes in the global economy and its economic contributions to few other countries across the globe, let’s first of all take a foray on the annual production of grapefruits as it will help us appreciate its economic value in a wide scale.
According to Food and Agriculture Organization Corporate Statistical Database. The estimated total world production for grapes in 2017 was 74,276,583 metric tons, down 1.0% from 74,992,047 tons in 2016 slightly different from the journal produced by Fruitfacts.com in 2017 that puts global grape production at about 75 million metric tons same year.
China was the largest producer of grapes, accounting for 16.8% (about 13,083,000 tons in 2017) of global production.
Italy came second at 10.9% (about 7,169,745 tons in 2017), followed by the United States at 9.6% (about 6,679,211 tons in 2017).
Grapevine yards have covered 25 million acres of the earth land. Each year over 74 million tons of grapes are being produced all over the world.
As at 2019 the average price of grapes where $2000 per ton. According to vineyardandwinerysales.com report in 2017. Below is Sonoma and Napa Premium Wine Grape Prices 2016; the weighted Average grape price, Highs and Lows.
|$ / Ton|
|2016||Trend||2015||2014||2016 High||2016 Low|
|2016||Trend||2015||2014||2016 High||2016 Low|
Going by this fact and considering that over 74 million tons of grapevines are produced yearly, that puts an average value of over $187bn on grape industry which is projected to reach US$ 407.97 Billion by 2026.
China Revenue from wine production industry in 2019 was about $10.6 billion, in 2018, the value of grape production in the United States came to approximately 6.62 billion U.S. dollars while Italy’s Revenue in the Wine segment in 2020 amounts to US$27,014m. That’s quite a reasonable economic impact! Expressly speaking, Grape industry generates reasonable revenue to China, Italy, USA, and France, Spain, Turkey, India, and the host of other countries on yearly basis.
It is important to note that this industry and its derivatives alone have created millions of job across the world. According to a study by John Dunham & Associates of New York, the Wine Industry sustains 1.74 million American jobs. He supported this study by identifying 10, 236 Wineries in the United States situated in all 50 States and 677,629 acres of vineyards in 49 states.
The State of Florida is a huge beneficiary of Citrus Industry. According to Economic Impact Analysis by UF|IFAS University of Florida in 2017, total economic contributions of Citrus industry to Florida which includes the direct industry output or sales revenue for all activities was more than $3.821 billion, and the total industry output contribution (with regional multiplier effects) of the industry was over $8.632 billion, including $2.118 billion from citrus fruit production, $6.207 billion from citrus juice processing/manufacturing and byproducts, and about $308 million as fresh citrus packinghouse marketing margins.
The indirect output contribution arising from purchases of inputs from other industry sectors was $1.287 billion, while the induced output contribution resulting from consumer spending by employee households and governments was nearly $3.525 billion.
The ratio between the total output contribution and direct output implies an overall multiplier effect of 2.26. The multiplier effects are significant because of the export-based nature of the Florida citrus industry that brings new money into the state economy (final demand).
The Florida citrus industry created or supported a total of 45,422 jobs in the state during the 2015-16 seasons, including 15,563 jobs from citrus fruit production, 27,872 jobs from citrus juice manufacturing, and 1,987 jobs from citrus fruit packinghouses for the fresh market.
These employment contributions represent both fulltime and part-time jobs (not adjusted to a fulltime equivalent basis). Total value added contributions of the Florida citrus industry in 2015-16 were estimated at $4.230 billion.
Value added is a broad measure of income to the economy, including labor income, property income (e.g. rents, interest, dividends), and personal and business taxes generated by the industry. It is comparable to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the United States or Gross State Product (GSP) for the state of Florida.
Citrus juice manufacturing generated the highest value added contribution of $2.762 billion, followed by citrus fruit production with $1.262 billion, and fresh fruit packinghouse operations with $206 million.
Labor income contributions amounted to $2.559 billion, representing wages, salaries and benefits to industry employees and business proprietor (owner) income. Note that output, value added and labor income are independent measures of economic contribution and should not be added together.
Grape industry and its derivatives have contributed immensely to global economy in a whole lot of ways and that should be greatly acknowledged.
More attention has been paid more on grapes as regards its health benefits, but while that is awesome, it is also important to appreciate the impact of these fruits to the world and country economies.
Let us not forget how many companies who depend on it, how many jobs that depend on it, and how many mouths that feed from it.
At the same time we should also apply moderation to its derivatives consumption while we explore the myriads of health benefits that it provides.