Chile supplies markets with early kiwifruit
Having a variety of good quality early-growing kiwifruit is essential for the Chilean industry, aiming to capitalize on a commercial window that opens in the Northern Hemisphere. It is yet to be seen how a recent detection of vine-killing disease PSA will affect the country, but industry leaders tell Freshfruitportal.com about the optimism surrounding the Summerkiwi.
In what has been a difficult year for the Chilean kiwifruit industry, hopes are pinned on the Summerkiwi variety with between 180,000 and 200,000 cartons expected to be shipped this season.
The advantage of the Summerkiwi is that harvests occur between 35 and 40 days before the Hayward variety, while it also grows faster, allowing producers to meet weight and brix demands upon arrival.
The industry is targeting the Asian markets of China, Japan and South Korea, while The Oppenheimer Group will be commercializing and promoting the variety in the U.S.
Oppenheimer's Ray Reed, who manages the company's Chilean operations, tells Freshfruitportal.com the U.S. market will respond 'very favorably' to the variety as it is consistently sweet, while also unique with a brix that can reach the high teens.
"The availability of Summerkiwi at the very beginning of the Chilean deal should start the season on a good note and pave the way for high quality Hayward that follows," he says.
"It ripens quickly then maintains good eating quality for several days at room temperature. Consumers who want to eat green kiwifruit within a short time after purchasing won’t have to wait nearly as long for Summerkiwi to be ready.
"It will take some time to develop consumer awareness, but we’ll make some positive inroads this year, and translate them to repeat Summerkiwi purchases during this short season and into the future."
Giampaolo Dalpane, the variety's owner from Italian company Summerfruit, says the fruit has obtained 'great results' so far.
"We are coming out with a fruit of very good quality, something very important for Chile, since it allows it to be in the market for longer and with quality kiwifruit before New Zealand," he says.
Chilean Kiwifruit Committee president Oscar Villegas tells Freshfruitportal.com the Summerkiwi variety is a perfect complement for the Chilean season, replacing the Hayward kiwifruit which used to be harvested with 'incorrect parameters'.
For this reason the Chilean industry will expand the number of hectares devoted to kiwifruit cultivation to 600 hectares in the next three years. Currently there are 350 hectares planted, with expectations the country will export 900 containers this season.
"We will have the volumes needed to supply most of the target markets," says Villegas.
Related story: Kiwifruit PSA found in Chile