Source: Fresh Fruit Portal
The upcoming season looks as though it should be a relatively positive one for Californian kiwifruit growers, with normal production, good fruit quality, and strong domestic market conditions.
California Kiwifruit Administrative Committee assistant director Nick Matteis said that as of the board’s latest meeting in July, the industry was anticipating a production of around 6.8 – 7 million seven-pound tray equivalents.
“That’s about average, based on producing acreage and what our growers are able to get produced per acre. It’s about a normal size crop, and the distribution of sizes will be pretty normal as well,” Matteis told www.freshfruitportal.com.
“It’s not lopsided towards larger sizes necessarily nor smaller sizes – there should be a good variation in size profile. The quality looks to be good as well, though at this juncture of course we still have a month and a half of growing season left.”
The board of directors will hold another meeting in September to take one last look at the estimates and see if anything dramatic has occurred.
Matteis said although it didn’t sound like growers have had serious problems with the state-wide drought, he could not be sure due to the vast area they covered.
“It’s hard to generalize how people are going to be affected because we have growing regions closer to the northern area and some further to the south with a couple of hundred miles in between,” he said.
“Most folks are pumping groundwater because there’s zero allocation from the state and federal water resources departments.
“So I think everybody’s going to make it just fine this year – I guess I could summate – but there is some pretty significant groundwater pumping that’s going on now to keep flows where they need to be to get to harvest.”
He added demand looked like it would be strong going into the season, with the first harvest expected to take place around six or seven days earlier than last year.
“Probably at the end of September we’ll start seeing some of the first fruit harvested, but the harvest being in full swing is usually around the first or second week of October,” Matteis said.
“The actual harvest will go till the end of November and then the marketing season will run from October all the way to April.”
Generally around 70-75% of the fruit is sold to the North America market, with Canada and Mexico being the two biggest importers.