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Greece: Less kiwi export without the benefit of higher prices

Production of Greek kiwis dipped this season by about a fifth when compared to last year's production. Though that's led to higher prices for growers, it hasn't translated to higher prices on the export market, and Greek exporters are now dealing with fewer exports without the benefit of higher prices.

“We exported almost 10,000 tons of kiwis last year, and this year it's only been about 8,000 tons, so we're down 20 percent from last year,” said George Kallitsis of Protofanousi, the largest kiwi fruit exporter in Greece. “As a result, farm prices have been up about 30 percent, but, so far, markets have not responded well to the price increases we've tried to get.” Despite fewer exports and stagnant prices on the international market, Kallitsis noted that this year's crop, if lighter than last year's, is holding up well in terms of quality.

“In general, sizing is about the same as last year, or maybe a little bigger,” said Kallitsis. “Sugars reached a good level toward the end of October, and dry matter has been high.” The high quality of fruit may help Protofanousi weather stalled prices, as high-quality fruit stores well, and Kallitsis explained that building up stores of fruit for the end of the season can help get better prices.

“In general, we usually focus on the end of January,” said Kallitsis. “So we're not in a hurry to sell the fruit right now.” He plans to focus his efforts on the weeks between January and March. For now, he's focusing on expanding in Asia, specifically in India and Indonesia, although only about 10 percent of their kiwis currently ship there. Farther west, where Italian fruits offers the most competition, Protofanousi wants to expand in Scandinavian countries, but they'll have to convince consumers their fruit is just as good as that from Italy.

“The challenge will be to find customers in those countries,” said Kallitsis. “We'll have to show them that our kiwis have the same or better characteristics

For more information:
George Kallitsis
Protofanousi Fruits SA
Tel: +30 231 0755227

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