Demand in Europe and North America remains strong for Greek kiwifruit, says Youphoria Fruits’ George Kallitsis, as the campaign enters its final stages

Greek kiwifruit is enjoying strong demand, according to George Kallitsis of Youphoria Fruits, as the country’s export season enters the last few weeks of what’s been quite a successful campaign.

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Due to a lack of fruit from New Zealand and Chile last year, exports from Greece started earlier than usual. “In general, we exported more to overseas markets, which performed much better this campaign,” said Kallitsis. “The Brazilian market has been going really well. We finished exports there this month, since production is now arriving from nearby Chile.”

In Brazil, harder fruit is preferred, he revealed, partly because of the huge size of the country. “The biggest quality issue is the pressure of the fruit,” he explained. “They like very hard fruit. It’s a big country and the transport network is not that strong, so they need tough fruit to handle the transit time from one part of the country to another.”

The European market has also been encouraging this year, according to Kallitsis. “Europe has been better,” he said. “We are exporting at the moment mostly to Spain, Poland and to neighbouring countries such as Albania and Bulgaria, as well as some small volumes to the UK. These exports will continue later than overseas ones. We still have a stock of more than 1,000 tonnes, which will keep us in play till mid-May, with the majority sold by the end of April. Right now, our overseas exports are mainly to US and Canada, where demand is pretty strong.”

With production volumes of green kiwifruit still rising, Greece is expected to be the dominant player in the Northern Hemisphere in the coming years. But eyes are also on the golden variety, as its popularity grows.

“Greek production of green kiwifruit is around 300,000 tonnes, and that will rise to 450,000 tonnes in a few years, so Greece is becoming stronger,” said Kallitsis. “We are gradually entering the market for golden kiwifruit. We are planting trials, such as of Golden Passion. And we are waiting to see if Zespri decides to start planting its Zespri Gold commercially in Greece.”

As the kiwifruit season winds down, Youphoria Fruits also ups its preparations for the cherry season. “The weather has been good,” said Kallitsis. “The winter was a bit warm, but the chilling hours should be enough. It’s a bit early to estimate the volume, but we’ve had no issues so far. Without doubt, it will be an early season, maybe one week earlier due to the higher temperatures. Hopefully we don’t have any bad surprises.

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