Although Spain is still the most important supplier of kakis in Europe, this does not mean that it is the only country with commercial interest in this exotic fruit. There are already some producers in the north of Greece who grow several older and some newer varieties. Now, a Greek company, in collaboration with a Swiss trader, wants to introduce new varieties to the south of Greece. And so far, they seem to be successful.
George Stergiou is the export and Sales manager of ANYFION GREECE SA, a company that works closely with Swiss company Gebana. We talked to him about the future of Greek kaki cultivation and the first trials this year. "We harvested the first two tons of kakis last week and they arrived in Switzerland yesterday. We will send some sample boxes directly to Gebana customers and they evaluate the fruits for us. The sample crates for the Swiss market were sold out within a few hours and we have a waiting list of 500 customers who can't wait to try the Greek kakis."
The Swiss are already familiar with Greek fruit, explains Stergiou: "Gebana's customers already know our oranges, clementines, lemons, grapefruits, kiwis, watermelons and grapes. So they know that they can trust our quality. Hopefully, they will like our kakis just as well."
If the experiment proves successful, Stergiou will start regular persimmon cultivation together with local producers: "Despite the current lockdown, I have already spoken to some farmers in the south of the country. Many of them know kakis, but did not know that there are new varieties with a better taste. They are excited about the new possibilities and are ready to start growing them as soon as we get feedback from Switzerland". Other European countries like Germany and Austria are also interesting export destinations.
The production and harvesting of the sweet fruit is still a novelty for producers and harvesters in the south of Greece. The lockdown, which has been in effect in the country since the week before last, does not help: "We can continue to work because we are an agricultural company, so we are not so much affected by the measures. Yes, there are problems with labor shortage, but the biggest problem is the transport of the workers between the fields and to their accommodation. This is of course not only the case with the persimmons, but also with the citrus fruits, which will reach their seasonal peak in a few weeks. I am both curious and a bit worried on how the situation will develop."
Late start for oranges
ANYFION started the orange harvest yesterday, one week later than originally expected due to the warm weather. Stergiou expects a good season, both in terms of volume and sales: "The volumes will be slightly larger than last year. However, we expect a 55% increase in sales of oranges in the fall and winter."
Because of the Coronavirus, producers are hoping for high prices: "In spring and summer this year, prices were twice as high as in the same period in 2019, and demand has risen by 69%. Unfortunately, I don't think we would see such high prices in the coming months. Of course I would be happy if the producers made more money, but I think we have to be realistic."
ANYFION GREECE IKE
6th km PR Nafplio – Argos
21100 Nafplio, Greece
T: +30 2752 18 10 60
M: +30 693 61 69 833