The 38th edition of the IKO (International Kiwifruit Organization) Conference was held in Italy by CSO Italy. Delegations from France, New Zealand, Chile, Spain, Portugal, US and Greece took part. Some of the leading Italian businesses producing and commercializing kiwifruit attended, including Agrintesa, Apo Conerpo, Consorzio Jingold, Naturitalia, Alegra, Spreafico, Frutta C2 ed anche imprese Piemontesi quali Lagnasco, Gullino, Joinfruit and Ortofruit Italia.
While Italian volumes were limited in 2017 due to the frost, they increased in 2018 but dropped again this year. With around 371,000 tons, the drop reaches 6% compared to 2018 and -20% compared to the 2014-17 average. Green kiwifruits are responsible for this drop, as quantities are 10% less than last season, reaching 301,500 tons. Golden kiwifruits actually continue growing and near 70,000 tons (+16% than 2018) thanks to the young orchards becoming productive (though with lower yields than last year).
Kiwifruit orchards continue to grow in Greece and are currently estimated at around 10,000 hectares in total, of which 9,200/9,300 in production. Expectations for the upcoming season report 220,000 tons, similarly to the past season. Orchard productivity is not exceptional, with yields below the average as in the past two years. Exports have dropped slightly during the past commercialization campaign after the record figures of 2017/18. Almost 136,000 tons were exported (-9% than 2017/18 yet considerably above the previous seasons). The Greek produce is very much available in EU28 countries (Spain and Germany) and its popularity is increasing in North America.
French supplies should be similar to last year with around 55,000 tons despite the summer heat. The volumes exported abroad continue to drop and sales are mostly aimed at satisfying the domestic market. Italy continues to increase its shipments to this destination.
A drop in production is expected in Portugal with 27,000 tons (-20% than 2018) due to the low pollination and lack of chill hours in winter. Orchards are expanding both in the north and in the center part of the country.
As for Spain, estimates report a production of 18,200 tons, +8% compared to last year. This increase is mainly due to new investments.
Californian volumes have grown by 3% compared to last year thanks to larger yields and additional orchards. Californian kiwifruits are mainly sold on the domestic market with small quantities destined to Mexico, Canada and Taiwan.
All in all, a contained production is expected in the northern hemisphere for the 2019/20 commercial season with 776,000 tons, i.e. 3% less than last year and one of the lowest in recent years.
Positive news from the southern hemisphere for the start of European kiwifruit commercialization campaign.
In New Zealand, the 2019 production dropped to around 510,000 tons, -8% than record year 2018. Commercialization should end in November and should be well-balanced with the start of the commercialization campaign in the northern hemisphere.
Kiwifruit volumes continue to drop in Chile and there should be only 160,000 tons in 2019, most of which have already been placed.
The 39th edition of IKO will take place in September 2020 in New Zealand.