During the 36th meeting of the International Kiwifruit Organization (IKO) held in Guimaraes, Portugal, on the 10th and 12th of September, the World's fruit industry met to analyze the kiwi fruit industry's current scenario and its future challenges.
The IKO was attended by the main kiwi fruit producing and exporting countries in the world, such as the United States of America, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, New Zealand and Chile.
During this day, each country's production and export figures at the end of their respective seasons were announced, as well as analyzing challenges such as the need to develop new markets, a better fruit quality that allows for a consistency that satisfies the consumer, and therefore better results for producer. In addition, topics such as the Psa, and its reality at regional and local level, as well as studies and advances for its control were discussed. Other pests and diseases that are of interest for the global industry to monitor were also addressed.
Ronald Bown, president of ASOEX, said: "IKO has become an important platform for discussing and advancing issues that concern us as an industry. Chile, is an important kiwi world player, occupying the second place as the largest producer and exporter in the Southern Hemisphere, and third place as an exporter worldwide, therefore, participating in this instance is important, not only to know the reality of each kiwi fruit producing or exporting country, but also in order to be able to present topics that are of interest to the national sector, such as the need to move towards greater cooperation between producing and exporting countries, as well as a fair trade of fruit in different markets, all of which must be done in a free competition context. "
Carlos Cruzat, Chairman of the Kiwi Committee commented: "IKO is a valuable resource for the Chilean and global kiwi fruit industry, without a doubt; there are issues that concern us all, and we know that if we go forward together it is easier to develop an internationally strong category. Improving quality remains a central issue to boost consumption, in addition to all the cooperation we can carry out regarding phytosanitary conditions. "
The global kiwi industry
During the working days, each participating country presented production and export results and forecasts, complementing each country's evolution perspectives in terms of plantations, availability of alternative crops and the Psa's reality, were central to the agenda.
In relation to the World's kiwi production projected for 2017 (including China), this would be above 2.9 million tons of the different varieties, and over 1.5 million tons (not including China). The southern hemisphere, is expected to end up with a greater volume of exports than it did the previous season, while in the northern hemisphere a decrease in production is estimated for the new season.
"In the Southern Hemisphere, New Zealand has increased its plantations of yellow kiwi fruit, and although planting of green varieties has decreased, it has increased their per hectare productivity, while maintaining quality. In this context, they expect that in the next years the production of yellow kiwis will surpass green ones. In addition, they are also making efforts to incorporate the red kiwi. "
Regarding the northern hemisphere the leader pointed out: "The frosts in Italy negatively affected their production, which has added to the loss of some orchards in the north due to rapid root rotting, all of which made Italy, for the second consecutive year, lower its production expectation to reach about 352,000 tonnes, which corresponds to 70,000 tonnes less than the previous year that was also in decline. This fall will be offset only partially by the growth Greece should experience. But in any case Europe will produce less fruit, which may mean that the southern hemisphere can start its campaign with a market a little more open. "
As far as Chile is concerned, the Committee's Chairman emphasized the beginning of some plantations. "Since kiwis compete with other fruit species for profitability and labor, there has been some plantations start ups, which have been especially focused on old plantations, so production has not fallen so drastically.
And although it is still early to determine Chilean production for next season, it is expected to be slightly lower than this year, which is estimated to total around 170 thousand or 175 thousand tons among all kiwi varieties."
Chile advocates fair trade for kiwi fruit
Carlos Cruzat stressed that during the IKO meeting, "The Chilean delegation made it clear that it has expressed to the Government of New Zealand the discrepancies that exist with respect to certain policies of the New Zealand government, which continues to support Single Point of Entry, which affects free trade, and that is an attribute that is present only in New Zealand, and that otherwise, is not consistent with the reality of international trade, where this benefit does not exist, so that in the near future it will also be eliminated in New Zealand, either on their own or by demand of international markets and trade agreements," he said.
He also said that it was reported that Chile, under the Trans-Pacific Agreement (TPP), presented its observations on the need for countries that accede to this agreement to also adhere to the conditions that are being promoted in international free trade, and do not insist on obsolete practices that do not favor competitiveness.
In the same field, Cruzat added: "IKO representatives were also made aware of the importance of having unimpeded competition from any participant, since the Zespri case, having a dominant position in the markets, and privileged by the legal status that protects it, on many occasions makes the situation of the competitors of both hemispheres very difficult, so we hope that the experience and the damage suffered by Chile will not be repeated, as has been demonstrated in the case of Korea, when we had to resort to a court that severely sanctioned the existence of its anticompetitive practices. In this sense, the producers and exporters of Chile have respectfully and in many instances sought to see that these matters must be addressed and eliminated in order to favor the development of international trade. "
In another area, Cruzat highlighted Chile's presentation of a proposal to have an information system that would allow IKO members to better handle historical data and trends, reports and other relevant information. "For some time now we have been raising the need to have an analysis of the world's situation through a third party to consolidate data on exports, imports, and trends in plantations as well as consumption. Therefore, we have prepared a proposal, which will be reviewed by an IKO work group in charge of implementing these improvements, "he said.
It should be noted that the annual IKO meeting took place after the XI International Symposium on Kiwifruit, held in Porto, Portugal, from the 6 to 9 September, organized by the International Society for Horticultural Science, at which time Chile's Kiwi Committee President made a presentation of the Chilean Kiwi industry, highlighting the development of the Chilean industry of this fruit in the world context.
On this occasion, Carlos Cruzat and Ronald Bown presented a special recognition to the Association of Producers of Kiwis of Portugal (APK), for the excellent organization of the IKO meeting and for their support at the Symposium, which was received by Antonio Avellino Luis, president of the entity.