The kaki campaign is almost ending in Spain; earlier than usual, taking into account that production has fallen by around 50% compared to the previous year due to the impact of the weather and the increasing incidence of pests and diseases.
"I estimate that just about 10% of the total harvest remains to be sold," says Pascual Prats, president of the Spanish Kaki Association. "Besides, this year's abundant rains have not allowed the fruit to have the necessary conditions to be kept in storage in chambers for a long time."
According to the representative of this association, although prices have been higher than in the previous season, with an average of about 33 cents per kilo, many of the producers and businesses don't expect to make a profit. "The loss of volumes this year is too high and prices cannot compensate for this. In most cases, I believe that profitability will be compromised, although the exact figures will only be known once the cooperatives and agrarian transformation companies have paid their partnered growers."
Pascual Prats says that despite the limited supply of products, the demand has been very unstable and unpredictable and has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. "This year, the worst weeks in terms of demand and prices have been the second and third of December, which are usually the best of the season. The uncertainty due to the growing wave of infections in recent weeks across Europe has clearly had an impact on the buying trends."
There are already producers abandoning or uprooting their kaki plantations. "Some plots are starting to be uprooted after several difficult campaigns and it seems that this trend will be accentuated in the coming months." According to some nurseries in the sector, sales of kaki plants have ground to a complete halt in Spain, although they are still exported to other countries where the acreage is expanding, such as Italy, France, Uruguay, Azerbaijan or Peru.
Recently, Peru has greenlighted the import of Spanish kakis. The Ministry of Agrarian Development and Irrigation of the Government of Peru (Midagri) authorized the import of Spanish kakis that have been subject to a cold treatment. "In this way, we are expanding our export potential outside of Europe. This year, we have not yet been able to export because the production has been very limited, among other reasons, but we hope to be able to export next season, once the cold treatments have been verified. Next season we also hope to be able to make more shipments overseas," says Pascual Prats.