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Increase in acreage for Greek yellow kiwis
The Greek exporter George Kolios is specialized in the sourcing and export of green and yellow fleshed kiwis. As he holds a monopoly in the export of the more expensive yellow kiwi, his company has focused on this kiwi variety for the last couple of years.
“We’re working with contract farmers and we’re going to increase our acreage for yellow kiwis. We’ve already planted about 30 acres of trees, though it will still take a couple of years for these to come into full production. We’re going to plant an extra 20 acres in the area of Attica. This extra production is going to be marketed in countries like India and Indonesia.”
Apart from the new acreage of 30 acres, the company also has 12 acres of older trees that are already in full production. The older trees yield a production of 350 tons, while the newer plants still only produce 30% of their full capacity, giving an additional yield of 30 to 40 tons.
“Our main strategy in marketing our yellow kiwis is to divide our production in small amounts in countries all over the world. In this way, customers and consumers can get used to our products. When we reach full production, we’ll be able to let them have more yellow kiwis than before. Using this strategy, we’ll export kiwis to China, Indonesia, Middle Eastern countries, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain.”
The main market will be the Middle East and Asia, as consumers in these markets have a preference for sweet fruit varieties like the yellow kiwi. The Arabian countries George is active in are Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. “We ended up in these markets through our network. We met customers from these regions at the Berlin Exhibition, who mentioned they liked our product. As for Lebanon, we were already marketing green kiwis over there. Lebanese customers were already familiar with our brand.”
According to George, quality is the strongest asset of his company. In order to maintain this quality, his company works with seven year contracts. Whereas most green kiwi growers can quit on a moment’s notice, yellow kiwi growers are committed to this contract. The yellow kiwis are all marketed under the same umbrella brand.
The Kolios brothers of Kolios: President, C.E.O. Christis Kolios and General Manager, Georgios Kolios
The main advantage of yellow kiwis over green varieties is that the yellow varieties fetch higher prices, allowing for lucrative opportunities. “At first, placing kiwis on the domestic market was hard, as they were more expensive and people weren’t familiar with them yet. However, 90% of all consumers that try yellow kiwis like them and come back for them. With these kiwis, we mainly aim for the higher end of the market. In a year’s time, we managed to double our sales for yellow kiwis.”
The first batches for export to China last year were very successful. “It went better than expected. We’re also looking forward to expanding our export to Arab countries for both yellow and green kiwis,” says George in conclusion.
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