Italy will produce less kiwifruit this year mainly as a result of frosts in its main producing region Lazio and the combined effect of frost, Asian stink bugs and disease in Piedmont and Veneto.
As a result, the country will turn out approximately 390,000 tonnes of marketable fruit, according to new figures made public by marketing and research agency CSO at a special meeting in Verona.
That forecast represents a 14 per cent shortfall compared with last season’s 451,000-tonne crop – this despite a 2 per cent increase in the country’s planted area for kiwifruit.
Across Europe as a whole, Italy’s deficit will have a notable impact, with continental production set to fall by 5 per cent to 673,000 tonnes.
In the meantime, CSO director Elisa Macchi noted, kiwifruit production in Greece continues to expand. It is expected to supply around 185,000 tonnes of the fruit in 2017/18, up 16 per cent on 2016.
Elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere, kiwifruit output in France is also expected to decrease, by 8 per cent year-on-year to 58,000 tonnes.
In contrast, increases are also expected in Portugal (+19 per cent to 25,000 tonnes) and Spain (+15 per cent to 15,000 tonnes).
Signs of expansion in Italy are visible, however: while production of Hayward green kiwifruit is down 16 per cent to 355,000 tonnes this season, the volume of yellow-fleshed kiwifruit is on the rise, up 25 per cent to 35,000 tonnes.