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Vicent Masià, manager of DisplaFruit and president of AEK

"Spain: "New markets needed for expanding kaki production "

The Spanish Kaki Association accounts for around 60% of the total production of this fruit in Spain. Vicent Masià Ortiz, its president and also manager of Displafruit, recalls how he first became interested in this product and reviews the present and future for the fruit, which is recording a strong growth.

DisplaFruit's main business is based on the ripening of bananas. "Nine years ago, we decided to start working with kakis in order to diversify our activities, and took advantage of our contacts with practically all Spanish distribution chains, as well as with European supermarkets, to introduce the fruit. We produce and market kakis, stonefruit and avocados and grow clementines that we sell to other marketers," explains Vicent Masià.

Vicent Masià, president of the Spanish Kaki Association and manager of DisplaFruit

November, a difficult month for kakis
Vicente explains that the campaign started with a lack of large calibres due to the drought, although the rains in October have helped the fruits grow in size. In any case, November is not the best month for kakis, since the supply tends to exceed the demand. "This is a period in which every company in the sector already has considerable amounts of fruit available and is forced to market the largest volumes possible. In late November and early December, the market begins to stabilise again. It is therefore very positive for the sector for the companies that have the necessary resources to start harvesting earlier so that the market does not become so congested at those times."

Extending the campaign is difficult with a single variety
"We are one of the companies starting earlier with the campaign, in mid-September, and the ones that take the longest to finish. This year, we expect to make the last kaki sales in early March, following the trend of extending the campaign year after year," explains Masià.

But this isn't an easy task when you depend mainly on a single variety: the Rojo Brillante. "We started the campaign with the early Tom Guash kakis, which we use to open the kaki market before the start of autumn. However, the most common variety is the Rojo Brillante, which is the best in our opinion. Just like other cooperatives and institutions of the sector, we are constantly investing in the development of new varieties with characteristics similar to those of the Rojo Brillante."

Spanish kaki production to double in just two years
Although Vicent Masià affirms that for now the kaki supply is being absorbed by the demand, he also warns that the kaki production is growing at a vertiginous rate, not only in Valencia, but in Spain as a whole, with crops in Extremadura, Andalusia, Catalonia, Murcia, etc. Currently, Spain produces about 320,000 tonnes, although the expert estimates that in only 2 or 3 years this figure will exceed 700,000 tonnes.

"We are going to need to expand in our markets and look for new ones to be able to sell so much production," he points out. "It would have been very positive for Rojo Brillante kakis to have a royalty to further control the production and profitability of this product."

China, one of the markets with the most potential for the future of kakis
For this reason, although the main markets for Spanish kakis are still in the European Union, shipments to distant destinations, such as Canada, Brazil, the United States, Shanghai or Hong Kong, are also on the rise, especially after the loss of the Russian market, which absorbed about 20% of the total kaki exports (directly and indirectly).

"We believe that if we manage to create a protocol to export directly to China, as has been achieved with stonefruit and citrus, we would be talking about one of the markets with the most potential. China is the world's leading kaki grower, with an annual production of about 3,800,000 tonnes. This means that, traditionally, consumers are very familiar with the fruit, which is an important step to be able to open a commercial route in a short period of time," points out Vicent Masià.

For more information:
Vicent Masià Ortiz
T: +34 961750651

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