The Rojo Brillante kaki campaign is already starting in Spain, where the harvest is expected to be significantly lower than the first forecasts due to the impact of adverse weather and pests. Kaki, along with citrus fruits, is expected to replace stone fruit in supermarkets.
"The first harvest estimates indicated that we would have a normal production this year after nearly 80% of the production was lost in the previous season. However, the late summer storms, hail, and fungal pests -such as Mycosphaerella-, have reduced the harvest by about 50%, so far," stated José Vicente Llario, manager of the Valencian company Yacufrut, which produces and markets kaki and stone fruit.
"Despite the reduction in the harvest, the fruit has good quality because the rain also ‘cleans’ the product of certain pests that affect the fruit's external quality," he added.
"We have been receiving calls for a few weeks with a lot of interest from large retailers to start the campaign, so we hope that sales will be good, taking into account that there won't be much supply and that kaki will replace the stone fruits in the supermarket shelves, as the stone fruit season is ending," he said.
Located in Benigànim, in the south of the province of Valencia, Yacufrut is celebrating its 10th anniversary, although its origins in the sector date back to the 1960s. “Everything we know we owe to our grandfather and to José Cuquerella, who passed away earlier this year. Without him, we wouldn't have made it this far," José Vicente Llario stressed. "He founded the Cuquefrut company in 1968, specializing in the production and marketing of stone fruit and table grapes. In 2013 we founded Yacufrut and today we follow our grandfather's legacy in the stone fruit trade and have become specialists in kaki."
On the occasion of its 10th anniversary, the company has invested in new state-of-the-art facilities and new certifications such as IFS. "Our new calibration, washing, and fruit drying lines, and cold chambers, will help us increase our quality. We are positioning ourselves in markets such as Germany and Switzerland, which have very demanding internal and external product quality standards. Now we can offer a greater volume of ‘perfect’ fruits for sale," the manager of Yacufrut stated.
Yacufrut produces and markets around one million kilos of stone fruit and 3 million kilos of kaki per year:
"We offer stone fruit from Murcia between mid-April and the end of June. We sell all stone species, but we are increasingly betting on donut peaches, a fruit that our customers like a lot. From September to February, we offer kaki from Valencia, Seville, and Huelva to diversify risks and have an extensive harvest calendar. We are also working on offering counter-season kaki, as we believe that, unlike other fruits, it can be appealing at any time of the year."
The Chinese market was recently opened for Spanish kaki. We have the necessary certification to export to China, a destination that we could contemplate in the event that Europe fails us. Our experience and know-how are in the European markets, where we believe there's still much to be done so that consumers get to know kaki. Spain is a great producer of kaki and has hardly any competition in the marketing of a product that is liked by almost everyone who tastes it. We must take advantage of this strength.”
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