The kiwi has probably been the fruit with the biggest productive boom in Argentina in recent years. “Kiwi became globalized at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. The same thing happened with other fruits, such as blueberries, avocado, or passion fruit. They are species that have been traditionally consumed in a place or region and are suddenly rediscovered by the global business and internationalized,” said Clarín Rural Mariano Winograd, the president of 5 a Day, an international NGO that promotes the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The world's leading producer is China, which consumes everything it produces and is, in turn, one of the main importers. The most outstanding exporters of kiwi are New Zealand, which leads exports of this product, Italy, Greece, Chile, Iran, and France. Argentina's kiwi production volume and exports are still not very good. However, the country's production and exports have grown a lot in recent years, and the markets are taking the Argentine kiwi into account thanks to its quality. Business connoisseurs say that Argentina's kiwi sector has enormous potential because of the country's geographical location (same parallel as New Zealand), climate, soil, and genetics.
Each Argentinian consumes about 40 kilos of fruits a year. The banana is the most consumed fruit in the country (12 kilos/person/year). The average annual per capita consumption of kiwi stands at less than one kilo.
Kiwi has a lot of vitamin C, the equivalent of 3 or 4 oranges, as well as vitamin A, potassium, and low sodium content, according to Winograd. “In addition, unlike other fruits that Argentinians use in their salads, such as pear, apples, or bananas, the kiwi doesn't turn black. Consumers in the United States chose other fruits that do not oxidize, such as lemon, mango, watermelon, grape, and kiwi,” said Winograd.
Jose Fernandez Lozano, the Quality Manager of the Buenos Aires' Central Market ratified that Argentina's kiwi production was growing and highlighted the presence of national fruit in the market: "Argentina produces 8,000 tons per year, but imports 12,000." The Central Market sells 3,700 to 4,200 tons of kiwi a year. 48% of which comes from plantations in Buenos Aires (as well as Mar del Plata, Baradero, Lima, Zárate, La Plata, and Madariaga), 38% from Chile, 13% from Italy, and 1% from Nine Zealand.
According to Winograd, one of the reasons fruit consumption doesn't increase is due to the hassle of peeling and combining the fruit. "Therefore, one of the challenges for Argentina is to add more value to this fruit through the fourth range."