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The Spanish kaki sector needs to find new consumers

The latest report on fruit and vegetable product withdrawals carried out within the framework of the operational programs of fruit and vegetable producer organizations (OPFH), published periodically by the Spanish Agricultural Guarantee Fund (FEGA), says that the most withdrawn product last December were kakis (1,394 tons). This adds up to the 1,760 tons withdrawn in November and the 1,355 tons of October.

The withdrawal of products from the market, mostly for their free distribution and use as animal feed, is a crisis management measure backed with European funds that seeks to protect the profitability of producers.

"The FEGA data must be put in context, as the marketed production has doubled compared to the 2018 campaign, when hail storms caused the loss of about 40% of the volume," said Cirilo Arnandis, President of the only recognized quality seal for this fruit in Spain: the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Kaki Ribera del Xúquer. According to Arnandis, who is also the national head for fruit and vegetables at Cooperativas Agro-alimentarias, this year's production has been "the best ever," exceeding 400,000 tons, and with losses amounting to an average of around 15%.

While the cooperatives integrated in Grupo Persimon have been able to harvest 100% of the production and market around 160,000 tons, the "free supply," handled by private traders, has not enjoyed the same fate. The consequence has been "lower prices than those of the two previous campaigns and disappointing prices at origin," says the president of the PDO.

Arnandis is convinced that, in this context, the best solution is "to continue working on promotions in order to attract new consumers." In his opinion, "the production in recent years has grown faster than the demand."

Arnandis also advocates the opening of new markets, with China as the first objective. At present, kakis and blueberries compete to become the next product to be granted permission to be shipped to China.

Although with small volumes, kakis have already reached Canada, the Arab Emirates or Brazil. However, the biggest consumers for now are still those of the rest of EU countries. Of the 160,000 tons sold by Grupo Persimon this season, 120,000 tons have been exported to other European markets; well above the 40,000 tons that have been sold in Spain.



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