Spain: Smaller harvest due to heat wave
Although some growers accelerate the kaki ripening process by making use of ethylene, which allows them to be on the market as early as August, the season officially started in Valencia a month ago. This week, the harvest kicked off in Huelva and the fruit was harvested for the first time in Extremadura. At present, prices are in a downward trend as volumes grow. The peak in the supply is in October and November. About 90% of the production corresponds to the Rojo Brillante variety.
According to the Spanish Kaki Association, the heat waves of the beginning of summer resulted in a 15 to 20% decline in the production. The prospect of reaching 400,000 tonnes was adjusted to 320,000 tonnes. Many growers thought that the new plantations would compensate for the reduction in volume, but that does not appear to be the case. The production capacity of mature trees, which are the most affected by the heat, is four to five times greater than that of the new ones.
In Valencia, the largest production area, the calibres are larger than last year, while in Huelva the harvests have not been as affected and there is plenty of small-sized fruit. In recent years, the market has continued to grow. According to the association, the expansion of the acreage has slowed down compared to last year. Some nurseries still have kaki trees to be sold.
Since the introduction of the Russian veto in 2014, the price has fallen by 25%. In some cases, the price has fallen below the cost of production; therefore, the sector is increasingly looking for growth outside Europe, and the Spanish government is asking for help to access the Chinese market. The main market remains Europe, with Germany in the lead. There are also exports to North America, Asia, the Middle East and South America.
Peru is planting kakis
Kakis are being planted in the South American country. Spanish growers are investing in this crop, but so far there has been no harvest. The Spanish investors hope to have a production during the spring as a complement to the Spanish season, which lasts from October to March/April.
Growth of US cultivation and market
Growers and traders can look forward to a good production and a good market that continues to grow year after year. In California, the Fuyu and Hachiya seasons are underway. The campaign kicked off a few weeks ago and is moving from south to north through California. The season prospects are good, as the heat waves have only had a limited impact on the crop.
The growing production coincides with a rising demand. Kakis are available in all supermarkets and growers are expanding the acreage to be able to meet the rising demand. A grower says that, despite extensive expansion in the acreage, he has not yet had oversupply over the past few years.
The Netherlands: Predominance of large kaki calibres
The Spanish kaki season is now in full swing. Since the kakis are growing too well, there are few small sizes available. Spain would like to obtain higher prices, but the market in the Netherlands is not allowing it. Currently, there is a huge amount of trade in the Netherlands, with a lot of big sizes and class 2 fruit. Prices stand at about 65-85 cents per kilo for Class 1 and 45 to 60 cents for Class 2.
The campaign in Valencia, which accounts for 90% of the Spanish production, started properly in late September. Thanks to the plantations in Huelva, in southern Spain, the country will be able to continue harvesting until the end of January. In recent years, kakis have recorded a big growth in Europe. For the 2017/18 season, Spain expects a production totalling 400,000 tonnes, and as a result of the new plantings, production in the 2020/21 season is expected to reach 650 000 tonnes. Consequently, Europe is moving towards its peak in terms of consumption.
In any case, the consumption of kakis is still increasing. The Baltic states are currently the largest consumers, but before the boycott, Russia accounted for 20% of the sales volume. Furthermore, the United Kingdom has recently had the biggest growth spurt, while Germany is still in the mix. The Dutch kaki market is also growing. Moreover, exporters see a lot of potential in the Asian market. For their part, retail customers aim to have a year-round supply of kakis. The objective is therefore to ensure a year-round production with shipments from the Southern Hemisphere.
Normal market situation in Belgium
The kaki market is not so good at the moment, according to a trader. The price oscillates between 3 and 4 Euro per 4.5 kilo box. According to him, there is too much volume on the market. He fears that in recent years there has been too much planting in Spain.
Quiet market in Italy
The volume available in the market has grown, according to Ismea's figures for week 42. This coincides with an intensification of the harvest, but the greater supply means that prices are under pressure. The market is quiet and the demand is reasonable. "It is a season with excellent quality and below average calibres, but with a total volume in line with that of recent years," reports a trader. "The prices are not great, but not bad either."
The harvest of the Tipo kaki is almost finished, but that of the Rojo Brillante is still in full swing. Worthy of note is that the demand for organic kakis is rising. The season is marked by stability. Spain has the advantage of having a longer season. The Italian Rojo Brillante must be harvested before November.
Although the domestic market is important for the sale of the kakis, there are also exports to Austria, Switzerland and Northern Europe.
French not fond of kakis
The kaki season started a month ago and is currently in full swing. Prices were high at the start of the season. Since then, they have fallen slightly. By the end of October and early November prices will always fall if the volume on the market grows. The quality is good and things are going well, according to a trader. The kakis on the French market are imported from Spain. France has a domestic production, but most of the market demand is covered with imported fruit. "There is not really a rise in the demand because it is not yet a very popular product in France," reported a trader.
Israeli sector is growing, but is concerned about competition
A stable production and strong demand, both on the domestic and international markets, have allowed Israeli growers and exporters to obtain a good profitability from the Sharon. In the last 15 years, prices on the domestic market have oscillated between 1 and 3 Euro per kilo. Internationally, the price has stood between 2 and 4 Euro per kilo. Currently, the price stands a little above these figures, but still within normal levels.
This success is partly due to the well-developed cultivation and to the limited number of trading firms. The acreage amounts to 1,400 hectares, 85% of which are found in the central coastal region. On average, 35,000 tonnes are harvested every year. Of these, about 15,000 tonnes are exported during the peak season (between September and March). Four major exporters account for 90% of all exports.
Russia is the main market for the Sharon, accounting for 40% of the shipments. Europe is the second largest market, accounting for 35% of the total. Asia and North America import the rest. Demand for the Sharon is rising in the EU, although there is increasing competition from Spain and Morocco. That risk has also been identified by the Israelis, who want to shift their focus to South Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore, as well as to the Arab countries.
China: Dip in production
About 70% of the Chinese kaki production is cultivated in the central Chinese region of Fu Ping. The fruit is ripe in autumn and is available in November and December. The weather in the past year was not favourable for the crop. The heat and drought followed on months of cold and rain, which had an impact on the production. The harvest is expected to fall this year and calibres will be smaller. Some growers fear that production will be halved. As a result, prices will rise. This is not just the result of a limited supply, but also of rising costs for packaging, transport and logistics.
This year, New Zealand has gained access to the Chinese market. The first shipment was made in August, when the New Zealand season was coming to an end. Next year, larger volumes are expected to arrive from the archipelago.
Shortage in South Korea
Korean traders report a shortage of kakis of about 10 to 20%, although the actual figure won't be clear until the harvest is completed, as it is still underway. From 14 October, there will also be exports and that campaign will last until January. According to a trader, the quality is better than last year, when there was too much rainfall and the crop was negatively affected. The calibres are smaller. Conditions in the domestic market are good due to a shortage of large sizes, which has pushed prices up. The medium sizes are mainly intended for export to Hong Kong, Thailand, the Philippines and Canada. The small calibres go to Singapore and Malaysia.
Australia: Growing supply, search for markets
The country produces 2,500 tonnes of kakis every year, which is not even 1% of the world's production. Queensland is the main production area. Sweet kakis were introduced in the area in the 1970's and now it accounts for 90% of the production. The season runs from February to June. In the off-season, imported fruit is also available.
Production is expected to rise sharply, so markets need to be sought; therefore, a campaign was launched in 2015/2016 in order to give a boost to the domestic demand.
South Africa: Drought affects the coming season
The season is still at an early stage. The plantations in the south west of the Cape are just blooming. Around the Swellendam, the drought is less of an issue than in Greyton and Caledon, where there are also some Sharon plantations. The drought will have an impact on the production in the coming season.