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Spain: O Salnés kiwifruit arrives earlier with smaller calibres due to lack of rainfall

Kiwifruit producers in O Salnés have started harvesting the fruit in a season marked by the unusual weather conditions of recent months. The lack of rainfall has caused both the advance of the campaign compared to the usual dates of other years and the reduction of fruit sizes, as reported by the manager of the cooperative Horsal, Fernando Veiga.

While some producers already started harvesting last week, the production is expected to peak throughout this week and continue until the end of the next. According to Horsal estimates, the harvest has kicked off 10 days earlier than usual due to the lack of rainfall and "the size of the fruit is somewhat smaller," explains Veiga. As for the sugar levels in the fruit, it is usual for it to be harvested when the Brix reaches seven degrees.

Rubén Vila, of Ribadumia, one of the most veteran kiwi producers associated with Horsal, shares this perception, although he warns that "it appears that the volume is somewhat smaller than last year." Vila says that in their family plantation they harvested more than 9,000 kilos in the best years, while last year they reached between 6,500 and 7,000. The volume this campaign will likely be smaller.

"Due to the lack of rainfall, we had to water the trees very often, because when the kiwifruit is growing, it needs water," says Rubén Vila. He adds that despite being a fruit of southern origin, it also "needs some cold before pruning to allow the wood to heal." All in all, the weather conditions of recent months don't appear to have been the most favourable for the kiwis.

European competitors
The most appreciated kiwifruit in the market is usually that from New Zealand, which is the country where the fruit originally comes from and host to the most popular brand, which is a cooperative formed by more than 2,500 families, and which was founded in 1992. Their kiwis are sold in the European market until November (in New Zealand, it is now spring), so they are already running out of fruit from the previous harvest. From now on, the European kiwi will take its place on the shelves.

In this period, Galician kiwifruit has a prominent place, although it has important competitors, such as Italy, the largest producer in Europe, along with Greece and Portugal.

For its part, Horsal has a dozen producers and expects to harvest about 40 tonnes this campaign. It is worth noting that for Horsal members, and for the cooperative itself, the cultivation of kiwifruit is a complement to other crops, and according to Rubén Vila, the current situation does not invite growers to expand the acreage. "The price has dropped because of the kiwifruit coming from abroad; last year, we got an average of 70 cents per kilo, and we think it should reach higher prices due to the quality it has and the amount of work its production involves."

The main market for Galician kiwifruit is Galicia and other Spanish regions, since Galician fruit is unable to compete in price with Italian fruit, which makes exporting difficult. In the case of Horsal, most of its production will be shipped outside of Galicia, both to the central markets and to greengrocer chains.


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