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August / September 2022

Siezing a Golden Opportunity for Local Kiwifruit

SA Fruit Journal: August / September 2022

Seizing a golden opportunity for local kiwifruit

South Africa is uniquely placed to supply the northern hemisphere with golden kiwifruit before its fellow southern hemisphere producers. By Prof Malcolm Dodd

A study into when to pick and how to store kiwifruit has greatly advanced the local industry's ability to leverage its six-week window of opportunity within the southern hemisphere fruit production context.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) first started recording kiwifruit production in 1970. Growth was slow in the 1980s but from the 1990s onwards, production increased sharply. Currently, global production stands at about four million tonnes, of which China produces half. New Zealand and Italy claim second and third spots with 558 000 and 524 000 tonnes respectively.

Despite its relative-newcomer status to the export scene, kiwifruit is regarded as the sixth most valuable fruit crop in terms of marketable gross production, after oranges, apples, table grapes, peaches/nectarines and pears. It is also rich in variety, comprising an astounding 76 cultivars ranging wildly in flesh and skin colour, size, shape, hairiness, juiciness, and texture, as well as the time of maturity, ripening, and response to prolonged storage.

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