Kiwifruit harvest is just about underway in California and it appears this year’s crop will be down from last season’s 31,324 tons. High temperatures throughout the summer are most likely the cause for the drop in production.
Weather conditions in other kiwifruit growing regions have also caused a dip in production as well. Areas in Italy experienced a significant frost in April, which was followed up by a summer of high temperatures reducing fruit size and volume. Italy’s overall production is estimated to be down between 25 and 30 percent. Production in Greece is average and should potentially supplement the decreased production experienced in Italy.
The lower supply of kiwifruit has done nothing to curb demand and prices are some of the highest seen in 30 years. Last year cartons ranged from $16 to $20, however, this year $30 per carton is not out of the question. Industry experts have noted that this is one of the most lucrative market environments seen over the past 20 years.
California is responsible for producing 95 percent of all kiwifruit grown in the United States, with less than 300 growers farming approximately 3,700 acres. The majority of California production is comprised of the Hayward variety, but the industry has been working with new varieties and growing techniques to potentially expand further into the market. The first fruit of the season is expected to be available sometime in the coming weeks.