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"The Greek and Italian harvests have not been as good"
Spain: Excellent kiwi harvest in AsturiasThe kiwi sector in the Bajo Nalón region, whose harvesting campaign came to a close with the end of the year, is facing 2018 "with optimism, because the harvest was successful in an almost unexpected way," says Juan García, manager of Kiwinatur. The company, based in Pravia and with 35 hectares devoted to the fruit in the plains of Forcinas and Santianes, harvested some 3,000 tonnes of kiwis, and its goal for the New Year is "to allocate 80% of the fruit to the domestic market and the remaining 20% to exports."
These are good prospects for the fruit, which has been present in the lower course of the Nalón River for 30 years and which has become an emblem of the regional agricultural industry. Its reputation has transcended beyond Asturias and has reached "the category of best kiwi in Spain," according to the leaders of Kiwinatur and Kiwis La Isla, the two largest companies devoted to this crop in the Bajo Nalón. The reasons for this success, according to Alejandro Lechado, CEO of Kiwinatur, are in the natural environment. "The soil is fertile, there is a microclimate with adequate temperatures, the orography makes the river go down with a great flow and with silt, and there is the ideal humidity and insolation for the kiwis to develop optimally."
With the campaign already finished, now is the time "for Asturian kiwi to continue consolidating and taking advantage of the fact that the Greek and Italian productions, which are our direct competitors in Europe, have not been as good as ours," says Juan García.
Juan Cima, head of Kiwis La Isla, has similar expectations for the next season. "The outlook for 2018 is good, but more because of the situation in the European market rather than because of the harvest itself. In Italy, there has been 30-40% less fruit this year and that has an impact on the market price."
The first crops in the region were introduced in the mid-80's, and at the end of the decade, when it started to become a regular product in the range of supermarkets in Spain, people started talking about the Nalón kiwi. Today, the future seems promising, although Juan Garcia says that "these good results must be welcomed with caution," since a successful harvest "does not guarantee that the following will also be so."
However, "we have a first class product, with a quality that continues to improve year after year," insists Alejandro Lechado. "We must be proud that such a healthy and tasty product has already earned a great reputation at both national and European level." Also, companies such as Kiwinatur do not rule out the possibility of "promoting a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). And although it is still too early to suggest its creation, it doesn't seem far-fetched for the long-term.
Publication date: 1/9/2018
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