The most widely planted variety in Spain, with 95% of the acreage is the Rojo Brillante (Bright Red). Its production has increased from 5 million kilos to around 240 million kilos in 15 years. "The low returns that growers have been obtaining in the citrus sector has led in some cases to them abandoning the plantation; others have chosen to sell their land and then there are those who have decided to venture into the production of more exotic fruits, such as kakis or pomegranates, combining them mostly with the marketing of citrus," explains Rafael Perucho, manager of the Regulatory Council PDO Kaki Ribera del Xúquer.
The Regulatory Council of the PDO Kaki Ribera del Xúquer was founded in 1998; it controls about 100 million kilos from 6,000 producers and carries out promotional activities. Almost the entire production is intended for mass distribution; 20% goes to the domestic market, which is the main customer, and the other 80% is exported to more than 40 countries. In Europe, Germany, Italy, the UK and France are the largest consumers. Before the veto, around 10% of the kakis were shipped to Russia, but since then there has been an increase in the volume of shipments to a neighbouring country: Belarus. Last year, the most noteworthy growth of exports was registered in the UAE, Jordan, Canada, the United States and Brazil.
The key to its success, the elimination of its astringency
"The success of Persimon® kakis lies in the removal of its astringency and in its texture, as the variety is actually still the same. To get a turgid texture, it is harvested in advance. Today, about 99% of the kakis that reach the market are turgid. But even more important is the elimination of its natural astringency. To achieve this, the kaki is stored in chambers with CO2. The less oxygen in the chamber, the faster the astringency is lost. With this method, the process can be complete in just one day, whereas previously, with the use of ethanol, it took us five," explains Rafael Perucho, manager of the Regulatory Council.
"There is a boost in the cultivation of Rojo Brillante kakis, not only in La Ribera del Xúquer, but in other producing areas of Spain, and this is something that we'll notice in the coming seasons, when everything that has been planted becomes productive. In fact, demand is such that there is a long waiting list to purchase kaki seedlings. Furthermore, it is also being planted a lot in countries such as Morocco, Turkey, Portugal or Italy, where they are also expected to record a rapid and significant growth," he points out.
Moreover, he states that "The United States, a market to which we also export, recently made an official announcement about the launch of a new variety, which apparently will replace its most common soft variety, the Hachiya, and which happens to be exactly like our Rojo Brillante. It may seem strange, but that country makes it very easy to launch new varieties, even if they are not, and sets many legal barriers to challenge their authenticity."
"We continue seeking new varieties through the Valencian Institute of Agrarian Research (IVIA). So far, we have not managed to find an early or late variety that allows us to extend our campaign, as they have the same production schedule as the Rojo Brillante."
For more information:
Consell Regulador DOP Kaki Ribera del Xúquer
Plaça del País Valencià, 7
L'Alcúdia, Valencia. SPAIN
T: +34 962997702
M: +34 666601736