Strong outlook for French kiwifruit growers, says Prim'land

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Strong outlook for French kiwifruit growers, says Prim'land

French kiwifruit shipper Prim'land is upbeat for this year's season with good dynamics for both local and export markets, due to a smaller crop and an earlier finish from Southern Hemisphere suppliers. Oscar kiwifruit

Prim'land sales office managing director Jean-Baptiste Pinel told the crop would likely be down 10% year-on-year.

"We still haven't finished in all orchards but we’re expecting 10% less, because we had a very bad spring with a lot of rain, and we had fewer flowers than normal, so there wasn’t the same quantity of fruit per tree.

This lack of supply has led to improved prices for early season varieties.

"Because New Zealand's finished earlier than normal, as did Chile's, we are seeing a hole in the market at the moment," Pinel said.

"Fortunately, we have an important Summerkiwi program in France with more than 1,500 (metric) tons, so that gives us the capacity to serve the European markets with good kiwifruit.

"At the moment we are seeing €0.25 higher per kg (2.2lbs) with Summerkiwi compared to last season during the same period."

Even though the crop is lower, Pinel still expects similar export figures to last year at around 17,000 metric tons (MT), thanks to an alliance with Fruits Union.

"It's a new member and this company has 2,000MT of kiwifruit in the southeast of France, another region that we weren't in before.

"That gives us more complementary volume to enhance Prim'land’s supply, which will be the same or perhaps more than before.

"As we have the same volume as last year, we will keep servicing our clients, who will be in Asia, in Europe or in America."

He said France was the company's main market, followed by Spain, Belgium, China, Taiwan and Australia.

The company has been selling its Oscar brand kiwifruit in Taiwan for more than 20 years now, while it has been sending the fruit to the Chinese mainland since 2009.

"This will be the fourth year we export to China and sales will go well as Chinese clients want a very sugary fruit, and our Oscar kiwifruit has a high brix grade - it depends on when because at the moment we are harvesting, but normally an Oscar kiwifruit has a brix of 15 for the consumer.

"Australia is also a very interesting market, although we have to send kiwifruit with good post-harvest shelf life because it takes five or six weeks by sea freight.

"To get there is very complicated, but as our kiwifruit is of quality we get good results."

The newest area for the company is the opening up of the South Korean market, where the company expects to sell its first kiwifruit on Dec. 29.

"We are content because we have achieved this new market this year, and we will have Korean inspectors tomorrow in our packinghouse to verify that everything is under control," he said yesterday.





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