Nergi production in Piedmont is sustainable

Italian kiwi growers are considered the global leading producers of the past 20 years. Excluding China; Italy, New Zealand, Chile and Greece, combined, make up 80% of the world's production.

Nonetheless, new challenges went hand in hand with this success. First of all, producers had to deal with the PSA bacteria and now vine decline is causing a drastic reduction of cultivated areas. Many Hayward kiwi experts have therefore started growing Actinidia arguta, i.e. baby kiwis, now sold under the Nergi® brand.

Italy, France and Portugal have introduced new two commercial A. arguta cultivars: Hortgem Tahi® and Hortgem Rua®. The fruit has been sold under the Nergi® brand since 2013.

To better understand the potential for replacing Hayward kiwis with A. arguta orchards and to reach a systematic approach and support in decision-making situations, the research group coordinated by professor Cristiana Peano at Disafa assessed the environmental impact of the two production systems. The analysis was carried out through interviews with producers, field and warehouse technicians and sales managers to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of the two systems.

"It emerged that the entire A. arguta cycle has an impact of 0.14 kg of CO2 eq (GWP), while that of A. deliciosa has an impact of 0.11 kg di CO2 eq (GWP). Therefore, as there is no significant difference between the two productions, development strategies were created to help sculpt the future of the production segment in Piedmont. Among these, we find implementing large-scale production, inserting baby kiwis in the soft fruit segment, entering the organic and niche markets and exporting the produce as it already happens for other soft fruit." 

Source: Claudio Baudino, Nicole Roberta Giuggioli, Rossella Briano, Stefano Massaglia, Cristiana Peano, 'Integrated Methodologies (SWOT, TOWS, LCA) for Improving Production Chains and Environmental Sustainability of Kiwifruit and Baby Kiwi in Italy', Settembre 2017, Sustainability, Vol. 9, 1621.

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