The kiwi season has finally started in Greece. Although the season started with the government giving the permission to start with harvesting around 10 October, but according to Christina Manossis from Zeus, not all growers are harvesting the fruit as of now.
Although the government has finally given the green light for the harvesting of kiwis, growers in Greece haven’t quite started harvesting. Christina Manossis, Executive Manager for Zeus, claims the fruit does not have the desired sugar-levels just yet: “The weather has been very warm, so it’s taken the kiwis a bit longer to reach the desired sugar-levels. Some areas have begun, but we’ll probably have to wait another week before the harvest actually starts.”
The kiwis themselves are looking great, however. Manossis claims it will be a good year, with bigger sizes and better prices: “The sizes of the current season are between 27 and 30, while last year they were between 30 and 33. Next to bigger sizes, the prices won’t be as high as last season. Italy will produce more this year, so the demand in Europe will be better met than in the previous season.” And Europe is a big customer for their kiwis, Manossis explains: “40% of the total production is going to the United Kingdom alone. About 20% of our kiwis are exported to the rest of Europe, with the remaining 40% going overseas to countries like China, the United States and Chile etc. We have fierce competition coming from Italy, and naturally the later season of New Zealand is always a big competitor. But we feel confident we’re heading towards a good season!”
The future looks bright for Zeus, as they are currently in the works of increasing the production: “We currently produce around 6,200 tonnes annually and we hope to reach around 7000 tonnes within the next few years. To accommodate this growth we’ve also invested in a new packhouse with new sorting technologies. This is a major change for us that should keep us in a comfortable position for many years to come.”
Kiwiberries. They’re the new big thing, but unfortunately Greece won’t be able to jump on the bandwagon: “Our climate does not seem to be suitable for cultivating these kiwiberries, with our very hot summers. Also these need to be tested in order to evaluate whether or not varieties of Arguta could perform in a profitable way. I don’t feel kiwiberries will become competitors to our regular kiwifruits, nor will any growers in Greece be tempted to start growing them at the moment. The hype of kiwiberries will probably not affect us as volumes of Arguta are still limited compared to regular kiwi and probably because of the perception of consumers.” Manossis concludes.
Zeus will be attending Fruit Attraction 2018 in Madrid, from the 23rd to the 25th of October. You can find them in Hall 10, Stand 10C03.