South Africa, a country with a climate as favourable as Spain’s, and great off-season potential for growing citrus fruits, sees in the persimmon a new star product.
The persimmon boom in foreign markets has not gone unnoticed to South African producers and exporters.
The main variety chosen is Valencia’s Rojo Brillante (Bright Red), since it has enjoyed the greatest penetration among European consumers.
In the current context, the persimmon has very good commercial perspectives. And since it is reasonably easy to transport, some European producers have proposed taking it to the southern hemisphere and making it a product that can be found in groceries twelve months a year, like most fruits.
This reality has not gone unnoticed in the sector and the fruit is also becoming well known in Italy and Morocco, although it originated in Spain.
However, beyond these countries, plantations of the Valencia variety are sprouting up in the southern hemisphere.
Brazil and South Africa have more possibilities. The former because it already has a similar fruit, with its “Sharon,” and the latter for commercial reasons.
“In my opinion, even if these countries develop the Bright Red, they will do so first of all for domestic consumption and then, depending on the turnover, there is the possibility in the mid- or long-term of exportation to the northern hemisphere, like other fruits: citric fruits, stone fruits, melons. In any case, this will not be immediate,” highlights Cirilo Arnandis, president of the “Ribera del Xúquer” Persimmon Designation of Origin.
Free reproduction. What makes the situation paradoxical is the fact that these producers can reproduce the variety, unlike the case when Valencian farmers have tried to introduce foreign varieties, for which they have had to pay royalties.
“In the past we tried to register the Rojo Brillante, but lawyers told us that it wasn’t possible, since it had been a long time in the market and we couldn’t prove what we intended.”
They also tried to patent the process used to eliminate astringency in order to keep its texture, but this was also rejected since similar things were already being done. The only thing that was achieved was registering “Persimon” as an exclusive brand.
The Rojo Brillante is a spontaneous mutation that arose in the surroundings of Ribera Alta (Valencia). It proved to be very attractive due to its size, but did not begin to stand out until a revolutionary new treatment appeared that eliminated the fruit’s astringency and kept it hard.