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Frosts will limit Anecoop's kaki sales until late January

"Spain: "Kakis will continue to be profitable if things are done right"

Anecoop produces and markets around 40% of Spain's total kaki production; that is, around 150,000 tonnes of the approximately 350,000 produced in the country. This year, however, just like other operators in the sector, the cooperative will end up selling less than expected due to the frosts recorded last week. This comes after the harvest had already been estimated to be reduced by the impact of the excessive heat in summer, explains Miguel Abril, commercial director at Anecoop.

"For two nights in a row, the main kaki production areas in Valencia were exposed to temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius. Kakis are very sensitive to the cold, and even more at this time, as the leaves have already fallen and the fruit is more exposed. Of what was left to be harvested (around 25%), we won't be able to get practically anything to the market. We normally start storing kakis in chambers from November and this year the goal was to market the fruit until mid-February. Given these circumstances, we won't be able to fulfil our 5-month planning, but we will try to continue until late January, although logically with smaller volumes. This reduction in the supply should allow prices to rise."

Before the frosts, there had already been some difficulties with the fruit's marketing this season, as there was a lot of production with an abundance of large sizes in the first stretch of the campaign. "The harvest started earlier than expected due to excessive heat in summer, but the problem was solved in just a few weeks thanks to the concentration of supply, which ensures more bargaining power and a greater capacity to solve crisis problems like this."

"Europe still has a lot of growth potential when it comes to kaki consumption"
80% of Anecoop's sales are carried out through programs with supermarkets, mainly in Spain and the rest of Europe, with Germany at the head and France second in the ranking. Outside of Europe, markets are opening in the Middle East, Asia and North and South America in order to compensate for the loss of the Russian market, whose borders have been closed for more than three years.

"We want to grow in third countries, although we see that there is still a lot of potential in Europe, given that a large part of consumers are still unfamiliar with this product," says Miguel Abril. "In order to address this, we are already organising big promotional actions in partnership with the Regulatory Board of the PDO Kaki Ribera del Xúquer. The formula changes depending on the country, with advertising spots on eight television channels in France, or billboards distributed across the country in Spain, to give an example."
Furthermore, April believes that extending the kaki marketing calendar is also key to ensure consumption continues to grow and prevent the market from becoming congested at specific times, given the large productions that are to come.

"Kakis won't be consumed all year round"
"We could humbly say that Anecoop is at the forefront when it comes to technical knowledge about this product, and maintaining high quality standards is essential to prevent the disappointment of consumers and to give a boost to the demand. Since we decided to bet on this fruit (thanks to the control of its astringency in 1997), we have made progress both in terms of cultivation and harvesting in order to extend the campaign as much as possible. We have a team of technicians who have visited countries like Korea. It is not an easy task when you only have one variety, namely the Rojo Brillante, and although we continue looking for new varieties and have carried out many tests, we haven't found anything that comes close to the characteristics of the Rojo Brillante.

"Motivated by the success of Rojo Brillante kakis in Valencia, the crop has been planted in other areas of Spain, such as Castellon or Huelva, although the results have not been as successful as expected. Outside of Spain, kakis have also been planted in countries such as South Africa, Italy, Portugal or even Peru. I don't think kakis will be consumed all year round, since especially in Europe, from mid-spring, the presence and demand for summer fruit increases and large distribution chains focus on these products."

Kakis will remain a profitable product
The production of kakis is on the rise in Spain, and although the acreage is no longer expanding, the production is expected to double by 2020 and 2021, reaching 700,000 tonnes, as the newest plantations become fully productive. "Kakis have been mostly replacing oranges in Valencia, with very similar production costs and performance. It is true that as the supply has grown, profit margins have been reduced compared to previous years, but it is still a profitable product," says Miguel Abril.

Although there is still a lot of production to come, many of the non-professional producers who had been attracted by the high prices paid a few years ago have already given up. The average consumption in Europe still amounts to about half a kilo per capita per year, so kakis still have a good future if we continue to do things right."

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