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Spain: Valencian Kiwi good alternative to citrus

Although kiwi growing in the Region of Valencia is still not significant in terms of production volumes, it should be noted that it is one of the few areas not affected by the feared PSA bacteria. Kiwis are seen as a worthy alternative in the area, as the citrus sector is deeply affected by low prices.

In the year 2005, Openagro S.L. was established with the partnership of several growers from Picassent who, after research of Valencia's climate, decided to try growing kiwis, believing in the great potential of this fruit because of its health benefits. 

"The two regions where kiwis are produced enjoy of approximately 1,000 annual hours of sunshine and the lands have a different pH to other cultivation areas," explain representatives of Openagro S.L.

In the year 2011, the project strengthened with the association of over 50 producers under the name SAT. ACTINIDIA, using the registered brand ACTINIS for the commercialisation of their products.

Valencian kiwis have two characteristics that make them stand out from other kiwis in the world: their flavour and their harvest period.

The harvest takes place when New Zealand and Chile are closing their campaigns and the quality of their fruit is no longer as good, and approximately two months before the start of the season in Italy, Portugal or Galicia. "Furthermore, we can control harvest volumes to adjust them to market demand and supply the fruit for a minimum of three months with a product maintaining the same characteristics of size and flavour," they affirm.

Regarding organoleptic qualities, the producers highlight that it is a sweeter, less acidic kiwi, with greater vitamin C content. The harvest begins when the fruit reaches 6-6.5 Brix degrees and consumed with 11.5-12 Brix degrees. 

Openagro S.L.'s kiwis are also characterised by having larger sizes than average, as with their techniques, kiwis of up to 200 grams can be obtained." Nevertheless, one of the standards of the firm is growing the kiwis in a fully natural way, with zero waste, using no pesticides or mineral fertilisers.

Prices currently stand between 60 and 70 cents, depending on size, which is a really good price for growers.

It is said that kiwi growing is not an easily affordable investment, although a performance of between 20 and 25 tonnes per hectare can be obtained. "With good management, performance can be improved. Our techniques allow us to obtain between 30 and 45 tonnes per hectare," they explain.

In possession also of a GlobalGAP certification, Openagro ships its kiwis to the national market and exports to some European destinations, including Russia.

All the kiwis are packed in 6 kg cardboard boxes, 3 kg trays and 1kg baskets under the brand ACTINIS. "We adapt to market demands, with smaller packaging being more popular," they say.

Openagro also processes and sells kiwi jam under the ACTINIS brand, being the first in the market to offer this product.

For more information:
Ignacio Salvador Marqués (Agronomist)
Jorge Martínez Martínez (Manager)
C/ Acequia, nº 95, Picassent (Valencia, Spain)
T: +34 961 241 177

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