"The Italian kiwifruit season is ending on a positive note when it comes to demand, with prices higher than in February and March. Unfortunately, however, it is not enough to compensate for the problems caused by the Greek produce sold at lower prices during the first part of the season. Greek competition has become substantial as quantities exported tripled over the past ten years," reports Italo Catenaro, president of Op Rimfruit and sales manager of Catenaro Italo Srl.
The reason behind the success of kiwifruit in Greece is due to an exponential growth of both cultivated areas and production volumes. In addition, the constant increase in exports over the past ten years was supported by the larger capacity of long-term storage facilities.
Rimfruit has been commercializing fresh fruit and stone fruit in particular (peaches, apricots and plums) since 2004. Lately, it has been investing in the production and varietal innovation of traditional and organic kiwifruit. When it comes to summer fruit, the main market is the UK, where Rimfruit has been supplying the main distribution chains for 20 years.
"We must insist on developing new golden and red varieties and on improving the organoleptic qualities of our Hayward green kiwifruit, trying to sort fruits in orchards more."
"Many foreign retail platforms have arranged for seasonal supplies with Greece rather than Italy. The average revenue remains positive, but well below the expectations of the start of the season (€1.00/kg). The net profit will be lower also for those who supplied their produce to top players. What is more, we must add that we have had more waste than usual this season as well as a higher percentage of category-two produce, which will also affect the general turnover."
In addition to investments on kiwifruit, Rimfruit-Catenaro continues to focus on early nectarines and peaches.
"We are preparing the warehouse for the start of the peach and nectarine season, which should begin around mid-May. We expect quality to be good for the early varieties as there were no big weather problems in our area. The main destination markets are Great Britain, France and Italian supermarket chains."
"Our clients are eager for the season to start, although quantities will be 15/20% lower than last year. We are aware of the uncertainties connected to the Covid-19 pandemic which will affect warehouses, logistics and costs and cannot predict how consumers will behave, anyway we hope consumption will be lively. The foreign influence is affecting this segment as well, as Spanish operators conquered the market for a series of reasons including lower production costs and larger companies which can guarantee homogeneous supplies."