The vertiginous increase in the production of Spanish persimmon has obliged the sector to open up new commercial markets beyond the traditional European one.
Production calculations for the upcoming campaign, based on assured tons (around 261,000 since the total is not normally assured), indicate that total volume may attain 300,000 tons. Projecting this rise into the future, the production forecast for 2020 is around 700,000 tons.
As a result of this increasing production, and as part of the continuous search for new business opportunities, the president of the Valencian Persimmon Association, Vicente Masiá, explained to Fruit Today that it was essential to establish new markets. “The sector’s success will have to be based on exploring and incorporating new destinations, mainly those located outside the E.U. and (why not?) the Chinese market.”
Although China is the largest persimmon producer in the world, “we’re under the impression that they have to import produce due to strong demand. Fruit from Europe is highly valued by a social class that has attained a certain spending power, and which appreciates European quality.”
In the 2015 campaign, 185,000 tons of produce were exported, 85% of which (i.e. 158,000 tons) was sent to European destinations and only 26,000 reached non-European countries.
Masiá confirmed that the price of the product had increased by an average of 10% compared to the 2014 campaign. “The consumer has to pay for a top-quality product so that the grower can receive a decent amount, thereby increasing his or her interest in the crop and enabling reinvestment.”
Special aid well received. A new feature of this campaign is that the persimmon is one of the fruits included in the package of special measures, introduced by Brussels as a result of the Russian veto. This initiative has been well received by the sector, since it establishes minimum starting prices and, to a certain extent, provides some breathing space in case the campaign gets complicated.
“The repercussion of the Russian veto has been an important decrease, in the last two years, in exports by means of both direct shipments and re-exportation. Russia had become a very reliable market for our produce. And now, at last, after two years overcoming this obstacle, we’ve received an answer.”