With the Chinese kiwi harvest getting underway, producers and suppliers are hoping that the lower prices registered in 2017 are not repeated this year. Early reports do not make for good reading, with prices falling in all major kiwifruit-producing regions. In Shaanxi province, despite lower production volumes, prices for the Xuxiang green variety were down about 30% from 2017. Likewise, in Sichuan province, prices for red kiwifruit were about 20% less than last year.
The trend of constantly rising kiwi prices, which reached its peak in 2016, seems to be at an end. In part, this appears to be due to the increased supply in recent years. Kiwifruit plantation is over 160,000ha. The quality of the country’s fruit is not consistent across farms and regions. There is also a lack of specialist services in post-harvest management, resulting in shorter shelf life. By contrast, imports from New Zealand are performing very well in the China market, with Zespri reporting sales of US$338 million in China in 2017. The company aims to double its sales in China over the next four years. This suggests that there is continued growth in demand for premium kiwi, which means that domestic producers will need to improve quality and branding if they are to prosper.