Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Greece helps fill the kiwifruit gap

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Greece is proving to be a surprising contributor to Zespri’s off-season efforts to grow more fruit in the Northern Hemisphere to ensure valuable produce shelf space is maintained in key markets year-round.
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Zespri global supply manager Alastair Hulbert says SunGold-planted area in Europe has expanded to 4000ha, compared to the 6700ha planted in New Zealand. The bulk of the SunGold crop in the Northern Hemisphere is grown in Italy.

The company’s Green Northern Hemisphere crop includes about 10 million trays, and Greece now accounts for about 35% of crop production. Other Northern Hemisphere growing regions include France, South Korea and Japan.

“Greece is now growing more than Italy for Green. Its infrastructure, including for handling and cooling fruit, is just getting better and better,” Hulburt said.

Typically fruit from Greece will be yielding about 70% of what crops do here, with slightly smaller size, but demonstrate a good level of crop quality.

Some Italian vines are also suffering from “kiwifruit vines decline” syndrome that is affecting 27% of Green crops.

Zespri is working closely with industry and grower groups in Italy to help improve orchard management, soil drainage and plant health.

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