The first-ever shipment of specialty kiwifruit “7 Bu Gou” from China's Guizhou province sent to Canada arrived in late December in Vancouver - the city with the largest Chinese community.
Importer Venture Van6 held a ceremony in Natureway Farm Market to welcome the successful arrival.
"This import is in part a response to a Guizhou campaign which to support the export of local agriproduct to North America," said vice-chairman of Guizhou Chamber of Commerce of North America and manager of Venture Van6 Qian Zhao.
According to Zhao, “7 Bu Gou” represents China’s premium kiwifruit variety and is one of the most distinctive fruits in Guizhou.
“I spent a long time researching which fruit has the best quality control and the best condition for export, then I found ‘7 Bu Gou’ kiwi," he said, adding that the furry variety has a cylinder shape and a very sweet taste.
They are produced and provided by Van6’s kiwi partner company in Guizhou and took around three to four weeks for shipment.
As well as Vancouver, the fruit is being distributed to Alberta and Ontario, both in-store and online. They come packages with a suggested market price of approximately CA$25 (US$19) per box. The first total shipment amount was eight metric tons (MT).
Currently, “7 Bu Gou” is sold cheaper in Canada than in domestic Chinese market, partly due to the competition from other origins, Zhao said.
“New Zealand kiwifruit are dominating the global market, especially North America, and as such kiwis from other continents will naturally be compared with them. ‘7 Bu Gou’ kiwifruit is as high quality and tasty as New Zealand kiwifruit, therefore we need to set a similar price," Zhao said.
Since it’s been released to the market, customers and distributors have shown keen interest, he said.
"It’s distinctive from outside to inside, from its shape to its taste, and the color is beautiful inside. In general, it’s a very popular kiwifruit in the market," he said.
The package design may be improved for the next shipment,
"We need to design more varieties of packages to meet the needs of different types of customers, perhaps smaller packages such as six, eight, or ten kiwis per package will work better," he said.
When asked if “7 Bu Gou” kiwifruit will expand their market to the U.S., Zhao said the entrance would have to wait.
“USDA hasn’t opened its market for Chinese kiwifruit imports, and the U.S. has a strong domestic market with kiwifruit production in California," he said.