High Italian stock prompts slow start for Chilean kiwifruit
The Chilean Kiwifruit Committee has put out a call to the industry not to "hurry up harvests" for export, as the volume of Italian stock in the market at the end of last month was still around 219,839 metric tons (MT).
The figure is around 7,000MT more than stocks at the same time in 2010, while this year Chile is expecting its own significant production boost of 10%.
"The markets aren't there for a good start to the season," says comittee general manager Carlos Cruzat.
Cruzat highlights Russia and China as two markets wih a strong presence of Italian kiwfruit. He says while the Mediterranean competitor had fruit on the market until May 15 last year, in 2012 availability would be extended to Jun. 15-20.
In the face of a "challenging" season, he says growers are giving priority to waiting for better quality fruit as long as possible, with a balanced harvest expected in mid-April.
"It's not going to be an early start with good prices," he says.
Cruzat adds that in South Korea, domestic supply has been saved due to the presence of New Zealand fruit until January.
"Supermarkets and producers save the fruit so they can keep supplying once the New Zealand fruit is gone, and that means that the gap that normally is in Asian markets isn't there.
He says it is important that 100% of the atmospheric capacity available for the fruit is used .
"But there are companies that are unable to keep your fruit and they are obligated to dispatch it."
Shipments to date are 50% of what they were at the same time last year, with a higher preference for Latin American markets such as Colombia.
Related stories: Chile predicts higher Hayward kiwifruit yields this season