Producers in Italy expect a 15 per cent decrease in their national production this season compared with the previous year, due mainly to the impact of the disease known locally as moria according to new figures released by CSO Italy. And while an anticipated crop of 311,000 tons means Italy retains its position as the world’s second-largest kiwi producer behind New Zealand, Greece is now shoulder to shoulder with an identical forecast volume of 311,000 tons.
Five years ago, Italy produced approximately 373,000 tons of green kiwifruit and 60,000 tons of yellow-fleshed varieties. But the impact of moria, especially on the most common green variety Hayward, has been heavy. At the same time, frosts and a reduction in planted area have also contributed to a 7 per cent decline in this year’s harvested volume.
Europe’s total estimated kiwifruit production will be around 755,000 tons, 4 per cent less than in 2022 and well below the 800,000 tons seen in 2018/19, according to new figures published recently at the 42nd annual conference of the International Kiwifruit Organization (IKO) in Chile.
Moria, known outside Italy as ‘die-off’, initially appeared ten years ago in Veneto. In that time, it has had a severe impact on other important kiwifruit growing areas, including Piedmont and more recently Lazio. It is also present in Friuli, Calabria, Campania and Basilicata.
However, yellow-fleshed kiwifruit appears to have fared better. This year’s crop could exceed 103,000 tons as new plants come into production, marking a 12 per cent increase on 2022.
Elsewhere in Europe, Greece’s production is also expected to decline, but by just 3 per cent from last year’s full crop. The trend is negative as well in Spain, where volumes are set to fall 4 per cent year on year to just over 28,000 tons. France’s production forecast is around 46,000 tons (+2 per cent on 2022) and Portugal expects a 10 per cent increase to roughly 58,000 tons.