The harvesting and exporting of kiwifruit has started in Greece. Preliminary estimates show that the Greek production is expected to remain at the same level as last year. Meanwhile, production in Italy is expected to decline, and the production in France will also remain stable.
Growers should ensure that the kiwifruit is properly ripe. When harvesting and packing it, the fruit must have at least 6.2 Brix and average dry matter content of 15%, while at all subsequent stages the fruit’s Brix should be at least 9.5.
According to the Greek Ministry of Agriculture, 97,000 acres are cultivated in the country. Last year, Greek exports amounted to 137,000 tons, according to data from ELSTAT (Greek Statistical Authority).
According to estimates by the Association of Greek Exporters of Fruits, Vegetables and Juice (Incofruit-Hellas), this year’s kiwifruit production is expected to reach 270,000 tons. Late frosts resulted in about a 10% reduction in area yields in Pieria and Arta, but in Kavala, however, it is expected to be at the same level as last year. Loss of production from reduced yields will be offset by the production from new plantings. Also, this year’s producer prices are expected to rise after mid-October.
Speaking of international production, Mr Zisis Manossis said that “the Italian production is expected to be reduced by 10% this year. French production will be at the same level, as will the Spanish and Portuguese productions (though these do not have large productions). Iran also has a high production, but unfortunately, the IKO does not have data on it; however, I estimate it at 150 to 300 thousand tons. China is a world superpower in kiwifruit production, but also imports a lot in order to meet its domestic demand. It produces in the same season as the northern hemisphere. Greece exports about 2,000 tons there, but in the first 2 – 3 months there is strong competition from domestic Chinese kiwifruit and prices are low. If the production is better organized (with new varieties, such as Hayward’s), then we could see Chinese kiwifruit exports rise in the coming years.
Last year, there were initially high prospects for prices in the Greek market, but then they were not met. It should be noted that each year the prices paid in the first months of the campaign depend largely on the stocks available in the southern hemisphere.
This year, Chile and New Zealand have seen their stocks reduced and this has created a “vacuum” in the international market that some want to exploit. However, producers should be careful and only harvest the fruit when this has reached the proper degree of ripeness. The state should also show interest in the product and carry out checks. It should not be announcing that the harvest of the main variety in Greece, which is the Hayward, will start on October 15th, as the fruit will not have reached the proper Brix then. This variety should not be harvested any time before October 20-22.
There are good prospects for the product, but it should also seek to enter new markets in third countries, as the EU market is saturated with kiwifruit. The state should immediately sign new transnational agreements with Asian and Latin American countries (as Greece’s competitors have already signed similar agreements).”