Figures reveal that, over the past two years, investments in the sector have increased, also thanks to the research and new cultivation techniques against the PSA bacteria.
This resulted in an increase in global production, which almost reached 4 million ton/year in 2013-2016 (right: a chart on the production average in 2013/2016. CSO processing on Belrose data. Click here to enlarge).
In 2003-2006, it was just 2 million tons. This growth was driven mainly by China. While it is definitely the leading producer worldwide, there is no official data. Chinese official data report 1.4/1.5 million tons, while other sources report over 2.4 million tons between 2013 and 2016.
China remains the leading global producer, followed by Italy, New Zealand and Chile. Greece is now the fifth producer. The five leading producers grow 93% of the kiwis commercialised worldwide. Excluding China, the other four countries produce 80% of the of the kiwis worldwide.
Cultivated areas are growing once again thanks to the new G3 crops, a golden variety known as SunGold. An increase in the production of golden kiwis is expected. This trend is also true for Italy, where there are 1,200 hectares of G3/SunGold, Jin Tao, Soreli and Dorì.
Kiwi production over the years in Italy, New Zealand and Greece. Click here to enlarge. (Chart: CSO with IKO data)
Also, due to geographical reasons, New Zealand kiwis are popular in the Far East. In 2015, exports to this area rose to 450 thousand tons. Shipments to Japan and China are increasing and reached 140 thousand tons in 2015. Exports to other Asian countries such as Taiwan and Korea are also significant, just like those to Malaysia and India. Exports to the Middle East are also somewhat increasing.
After years of expansion, there is now a contraction - producers are investing less in kiwis because they are attracted by other more profitable crops such as cherries and blueberries. Chilean kiwis are a counterseasonal product, destined mainly to the European Union. But volumes shipped to the Old Continent are decreasing, while those shipped to nearer countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and US are increasing. Volumes shipped to Russia are stationary, while those to the Far East (China and South Korea) are on the up.
Kiwis. (Archive photos)
Unlike producers such as Italy and New Zealand, Greece was not really affected by bacteriosis, so production has progressively increased through the years; so much so that it took France's place as a leading producer. Nowadays, Greece grows kiwis on around 8 thousand hectares and its production reaches 160 thousand tons, and this figure is expected to increase. Many are choosing this crop because it has lower management costs and therefore higher profits and higher chances commercial-wise. Growers are reconverting their citrus fruit and peach orchards, for which they have to deal with competition from Spain.
Exports increased too, also due to the fact that domestic demand is rather limited. During the last campaign, Greece exported 120 thousand tons of kiwis: 70% to Europe (mainly Germany and Spain). Ten years ago, most of the Greek kiwis were shipped to Russia and Eastern Europe.