Third place in the world rankings in kiwi production, compared with the fourth that it held in recent years, is expected to climb Greece during the trading period 2017-2018. At the same time, fruit prices are already significantly increased, both for the producer and for the exported product, as evidenced by the REA-EIA reports.
«We expect to see how production in Chile will evolve, a country that is almost certain to be overtaken, so that we can win» third place «after Italy and New Zealand,» the expert told The Athenian-Macedonian News Agency consultant of the Association of Greek Exporters of Fruit, Vegetables and Juices Distribution «INCOFRUIT-HELLAS», Giorgos Polychronakis.
Incredible export growth. Up to 22.64% this year’s rise in production
The exports of Greek kiwi are already strongly increasing, while the number of new entrants to kiwi cultivation in our country is growing, as evidenced by the increase of the cultivated areas, Mr. Polychronakis noted.
As stated in the 2017-2018 marketing period, Greek kiwi production is expected to range from 240,000 to 260,000 tons, increased by more than 22% over the corresponding period of 2016-2017, when 90,900 acres were cultivated, and production amounted to 212,296 tons. It is recalled that during the marketing period 2015-2016 the cultivated land in Greece was 84.30 acres and the production amounted to 198.757 tons.
In the case of Greek kiwi exports, according to him, there is already a significant increase: On January 19, 2018, Greek kiwi exports were at + 38%, or 94,000 tons, compared with 68,000 tons in the same period last year. Indeed, these figures do not include «the untitled export of the product to Italy, estimated at 19/1 this year to exceed 50,000 tons, although some determine it to 29,000 tons, from 8,000 in the same period last year.»
In this context, Mr. Polychronakis estimated that this year’s Greek kiwi exports will record a new record to 140,000 tons, recalling that last year it stood at 120,725 tons (116,201 tons in 2014-2015 and 81,998 tons in 2013-2014) with their value reaching 76.8 million euros.
To speed up bilateral phytosanitary agreements
In reply to a question, the special advisor of INCOFRUIT-HELLAS pointed out that while Greek kiwi fruit exports «have found a good pace, by expanding their share of traditional markets», they could «climb» and penetrate into new markets vigorously, «if at the state level there were more pressure». More specifically, according to Mr. Polychronakis, «the government must run faster on some procedures involving the signing of bilateral phytosanitary agreements with other states, and then it is not excluded that Greek exports, with the kits of kiwi, will go accelerating faster, giving impetus and outlet to producers who grow other types of fruit «. As an example, he said that a signing of a relevant agreement with South Korea has been pending since 2012 «and that’s why Greek exports to that market are zero.»
In distant China, in particular in Hong Kong, Greek kiwi exports «do not go as well as possible, not because of problems in our co-operation, but because they want to introduce Greek kiwi fruit with other fruits, , cherry, plum, table grapes and oranges, as the Spaniards are doing successfully, which are rather pressing and have good results. » Characteristically, he said that the Spaniards «in 2015 put citrus fruits on the Chinese market and in 2016 the nuts. Why not we who have such good relations at state level? »
In this context, Mr. Polychronakis underlined to ANA-MPA that in view of the visit of the Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Food, Mr. Vassilis Kokkalis, to China and following a meeting with stakeholders, the attendees were informed that «they will eventually enter the discussion table a basket of prunes, cherries, oranges and table grapes primarily, and peaches, nectarines, strawberries and apricots, as thereafter ‘.
With regard to Saudi Arabia, he noted that, based on market demand, there is a need to extend bilateral phytosanitary agreements and, in particular, to berries and green apples. However, it stressed the need to «start exporting Greek kiwis to third countries outside the EU and those in South East Asia».
The rising trend and prices
Kiwi, which ensures good income for the family budget, as the producers themselves say, is resistant to adverse conditions and is constantly attracting new producers. Thus, many kiwifruit producers could have been panicked by the Russian embargo, fearing they would «lose» their high sales in the country (thousands of kiwi annually), but the fruit, unlike peaches, found a way out and is now absorbed. «Key» for the continued positive course of Greek kiwi is mainly to ensure the quality of the product, repeated Mr. Polychronakis.
Regarding this year’s prices, he noted that they are being increased. He said the producer price is running at a rate of + 30% this year (last year it was 55-65 cents / kg), while the export price is 1 euro / kg, from 75 cents / kg in the previous trading period.
«No» to the early harvest
«Unfortunately, while Greece’s export performance has increased spectacularly over the last six years, the practice of some producers to harvest earlier than the right time and without permission from the competent authorities, puts our country’s status as a quality of the exported products, Mr. Polychronakis underlined. It also reiterated the Association’s request for the Greek Government to announce a single harvest date for the product «in a serious and fraudulent manner. Not stuffing things. The issue is very serious. »
As explained, early harvesting «carries» serious risks and threatening global crops in the medium term, as product degradation can lead to a repetition of history with oranges, which some were taking earlier, put them in ovens and sent them for export to European countries where no consumption was consumed, as the fruit literally did not eat …
It is recalled that the proposal submitted by competent bodies to the audit services is, based on the experience of more than 40 years in the production of kiwifruit in Greece, the starting date of kiwifruit harvesting — except for early varieties such as summer Kiwi — not to start earlier than October 20. «Only then does kiwi have the necessary qualitative, flavor and organoleptic characteristics for its harvest and consumption,» added Polychronakis.
Indeed, in the case of the kiwi of the Protected Geographical Indication — PGI (of Pieria and of the Spercheia, with a production rate of 50% of total national production), according to the relevant Community provisions, even higher than the necessary sugars (6,5- 7 degrees brix).
In the case of premature harvesting and artificial maturation, «what one attempts to gain in value, loses it at a disadvantage, as the precious fruits, in addition to other disadvantages, also have about 20% less weight than those harvested in due time» the same.
Change mentality and more research
His position that with «realism and a change of attitude» Greece can become a player in the kiwifruit sector «a player who has a strong voice and can put and influence the market at a global level», presented to the RES-MPA the member of Interprofessional Kiwi (which works informally waiting for recognition by the relevant departments of the ministry), Dimitris Manosis, president of the Northern Hellenic Zeus.
First of all, he acknowledged, a national strategic planning for the market for kiwifruit, a promising market for our country, should be a reality.
In response to a relevant question, Mr. Manosis noted that a new Joint Ministerial Decision regarding the institutional framework of the process of recognition, operation and supervision of agricultural interprofessional in our country, based on the EU’s requirements, is under discussion for two months. «We expect the finalization of the framework so that we can make the necessary changes to our statutes and finalize it, and Inter-professional Actinide will now function with all its formalities, «he said. Of course, as stated, Inter-professional Kiwi, even in the context of its informal functioning, «produces important work, inside and outside Greek borders».
Regarding the creation of the Kiwi Center, a subject that was discussed with the Minister of Rural Development and Food, Vangelis Apostolou, Mr. Manosis noted that «there is no development so far. The issue, however, must be clarified, not its creation. What is necessary is that we all agree with the kiwi market that we are together, united like a punch. »
The Center for Kiwi (in previous years a proposal was made for its establishment in Katerini), he said, «could be the link between producers, entrepreneurs, the relevant ministry and the scientific community inside and outside Greek border «. In this context, he made it clear that «the issue of its creation is not the cost of investment, but the full staffing and acceptance of their role as a whole».
Among other things, Mr. Manosis referred to the need to leave the exported kiwis from our country packed and standardized so as to be traceable and thus protect the good reputation of Greece, stating: «Every year the situation gets worse. Let’s raise a handbrake so that Greek kiwi does not end up like other crops that are not protected «.
Need to find … expansion valves
At the same time, he noted that the EU can not absorb other quantities and that there is a need to find «expansion valves» in new markets such as South Korea, Taiwan and Brazil, and again called for speeding up procedures at transnational level, so that all necessary documents can be signed immediately and exports made.
For lack of infrastructure in refrigerators and sorting shops, Mr. Manosis stressed that the storage facilities have a maximum capacity of 120,000 tons and the «main problem is that they are scattered in our country». He suggested that care should be taken to ensure that the infrastructure of inactive cooperatives passes to healthy rural actors, stressing that «if they go out on the hammer, apart from the cost criterion, they must be on the list and this issue should really be given to serious entrepreneurs who really need them for their work. »
Finally, questioned about the yellowish-colored kiwi varieties, which are increasingly gaining consumers worldwide, Mr. Manosis replied that «Zeus» at the end of 2018 will start, albeit timidly, planting three varieties and in two years » we will have production.