"We started harvesting last week and we will continue until the end of November. The expectations are that Portugal as a country will have about the same amount of kiwis like last year. Our growers have had some damage caused by a big storm on October 8, resulting in lower production. However, the national production increased, so the amount will be about 35.000 tons in total”, explains Luis Paulo Monteiro from the Portuguese company Kiwilife.
This is the most recent project of production and commercialization of Portuguese kiwi. Constituted by 3 partners with an experience of more than 20 years in the production of kiwis and the commercialization of fruit. “Kiwilife is located in Arazede, Coimbra. We have capacity of coldstorage for 2 thousand tons and we are planning to work this season with 1800 tons of green kiwi and 200 tons of yellow kiwi. The green kiwifruit will originate from the Atlantic littoral zone of Portugal and Galicia. These regions have the ideal conditions for the production of this fruit, which allows them to have a unique flavour and quality.”
Luis explains that the actual sales of their kiwis will start from December on, and they have availability of the fruit until may 2019. “The expectations for this campaign are that offer and demand are more balanced compared to last year. We are waiting for the Greek kiwifruit to finish its season. This will take away the pressure on the market, as Greece has high supply and the prices are low. The Italian supply will be stronger and perhaps they will try to market their kiwifruit in a more aggressive way. Therefore, we have to assure a differentiation in quality and try to reach markets that are interested in added value.”
The company exports about 80% of the production to the markets Spain, France, Canada and Brazil. “The focus of our company will be the Spanish market due to the proximity. Also, because the Spanish consumers know the Iberian kiwi fruit very well and prefers it, due to its different flavour and say it tastes better than the other origins.”
“In addition to our own kiwi production, our company has an agreement to process about 200 tons of yellow kiwi Sun Gold Zespri, produced in Portugal. This is the result of an agreement of this leading global company with some local producers”, continues Luis.
Kiwilife has biological kiwi production and is Global Gap certified. “If the market continue to develop, that will allow us to have a production and commercialization of 4 thousand tons of conventional and biological kiwi within 3 years. We believe that the demand for the yellow varieties will increase, so we are promoting the plantation and production of these varieties with our national producers.”
He concludes: “Apart from this fruit, we will also produce and commercialize local production of Hass avocado. This year will be the first year of production and we expect to harvest close to 100 tons.”