Kaki Persimon®, the brand used for the marketing of the Rojo Brillante kakis grown under the label of the Protected Designation of Origin Ribera del Xúquer, is starting the 2023 campaign and celebrating its 25th anniversary. A more stable production is expected compared to last season, although the acreage will again be slightly reduced, in line with the trend of recent years.
"We are hoping for a harvest without the ups and downs of the last two seasons, despite the fact that some areas have suffered some incidences. We expect to sell around 110,000 tons, the volume of a normal campaign," said Cirilo Arnandis, president of the Regulatory Council of the PDO Kaki Ribera Xúquer.
"We must keep in mind that when we talk about 'a normal campaign', we are still talking about lower volumes than those we expected to be able to market a few years ago, when we somehow reached the maximum potential production at that time, which was between 500,000 and 600,000 tons, well above the current one. Total production forecasts for the coming years are lower, as the acreage devoted to the crop has been reduced in recent years," he says.
Although the area registered under the regulatory council has been slightly reduced in recent years as a result of poor seasons at the production level and, above all, the lack of profitability, according to Cirilo, "it is significant that the vast majority of the area that has been deregistered is from individual growers. This means that the area cultivated by cooperatives remains practically stable, and indicates that cooperatives are doing a great job ensuring the profitability of the crop. It is also interesting to note that, at a national level, there has also been a considerable decline in some producing areas, where the lack of profitability and, above all, of productivity, has led to a reduction in the cultivated area, and consequently, in the national production."
"The marketed production of Kaki Persimmon went from about 4,000 tons in 1997 to over 120,000 tons in 2019"
Cirilo Arnandis outlined the history of Kaki Persimmon. "The Regulatory Council was created in 1998 at the behest of cooperatives and some small businesses, which were already beginning to glimpse the potential of the unique Rojo Brillante variety, which stood out for its size and quality. In 2001, it was also given a Protected Designation of Origin by the European Commission, thereby becoming the only kaki in the world with such a recognition."
"We could say that the kaki boom took place over the last 15 years, which is when the area devoted to the crop grew exponentially and harvest forecasts soared to 600,000 tons, although later the reality has been different. In any case, it should be noted that in the late 90's, when "Kaki Persimmon" was introduced, new consumers and markets were conquered each season, despite knowledge about the product still being very low," said Cirilo.
Thus, the production marketed by those associated under the designation of origin has gone from just over 4,000 tons in 1997 to over 120,000 tons in 2019, which was the campaign with the highest marketed production. "With a few exceptions, annual statistics clearly show how the volume marketed has increased steadily each campaign, parallelly to the growth of the acreage devoted to the crop," said the president of the Regulatory Council.
"Campaigns with product shortages make it harder to establish the product-consumer relationship that seasonal products require"
"The last two campaigns have been difficult due to significant production losses, which took a considerable toll on the marketing forecasts, so it is important to be able to go back to normal this campaign and get consumers back. Seasonal products, as is our case, are even more sensitive to these situations, and even more so if we take into account that it is a product that is still unknown to many consumers. Therefore, campaigns with significant production losses make it harder to establish the necessary product-consumer relationship," says Cirilo Arnandis.
"But, logically, you also need good prices, since having low productions with high prices is as bad as having normal productions and low prices, as already seen in previous seasons, especially with the current situation of raw material prices that the sector is suffering. Our goal is to ensure the crop remains profitable for our producers, as that will facilitate their survival, and that consumers have access to quality food with all the guarantees," he said.
"On this 25th anniversary, we want producers to have the recognition they deserve"
To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the Regulatory Council wants to highlight everything that the Designation of Origin represents. "We want to emphasize the commitment with our producers to ensure that their activity has the recognition it deserves, and with the territory to which it is linked and its 'food autonomy'. We aim, among other things, to guarantee the supply of quality local products," said the president.
"This 25th anniversary should also serve to make our producers aware of what their work has meant for our region at a social level with the introduction of the Kaki Persimmon® brand. It is just as important for consumers to understand what is behind a designation of origin as it is for our producers to be aware of what their work has helped achieve and to be proud of it. Therefore, we are going to carry out initiatives aimed at recognizing the work of our growers at all levels, especially in the cooperatives, which are at the heart of this Designation of Origin," said Cirilo Arnandis.