We focus today on a fruit that in Spain has suffered a brutal increase in consumption in recent years thanks to the business vision of a Galician whose company is currently very famous and more so in recent months.
This businessman was the introducer of kiwi cultivation in Spain. If you want to know who it is, keep reading.
You’ll be surprised!
ORIGIN OF KIWI IN THE WORLD AND IN SPAIN
The kiwi ( Actinidia chinensis or Actinidia deliciosa) is closely associated with New Zealand because it is the largest producer of this fruit but its origin is in China.
The New Zealanders were the ones who gave him the commercial vision for exporting and intensive farming.
In Spain it was hardly consumed and the few that arrived were at prohibitive prices back in the 60s. It was then that a Galician businessman, together with an agricultural engineer, insisted and opted to test and try to adapt the cultivation of kiwi in Spain .
It all started with experimental trials in Pontevedra where little by little they were studying the characteristics and adaptation of the crop with prospects for future production.
This Galician businessman was the one who later founded the kiwi producing company Actinidia chinensis (alluding to the botanical name).
Does the name of the company sound familiar to you?
It didn’t sound familiar to me either.
What if I tell you Pescanova? Well, that’s right, José Fernández López, founder of Pescanova (his son currently directs it and since 1980), was the pioneer introducer of the kiwi in Spain together with the agricultural engineer Carlos del Río.
Years passed and in the early 1980s the Spanish kiwi began to “ring” in the Spanish consumer and since then it has been a deeply rooted fruit in consumption in the peninsula.
I would say that it is more consumed than many other fruits native to Spain.
SOME FACTS ABOUT KIWI IN SPAIN
Currently kiwi represents an important crop in Spain. The cultivation is centered on the northern coast of Spain due to its specific environmental conditions that we will see later. From Galicia, passing through Asturias, Cantabria, the Basque Country and Navarra.
Between Galicia and Asturias they cultivate around 75% of the national production, Galicia being at the forefront, cultivating approximately 50% in this community. It has been a constantly growing crop since its adaptation and intensification.
HOW IS KIWI GROWN IN SPAIN?
As we have mentioned, the kiwi is a plant that is cultivated on the north coast due to its ideal climatic conditions.
We are going to see firstly, what climate does kiwi need and then you can judge whether Galicia and other areas are not places suitable for this crop.
CLIMATOLOGY AND TEMPERATURES
It needs a temperate climate with temperatures around 15ºC on average per year, with high ambient humidity and high and relatively frequent rainfall, even in spring and summer.
During the winter it has a great resistance to frost (it supports temperatures below -10 ºC), although spring frosts damage the flower and the fruit . Conclusion: Galician and Asturian climate where they exist.
It does not support heavy soils. The root asphyxia is a weak point of the cultivation. It needs a very loose soil rich in organic matter, with a neutral pH tending slightly towards acidity.
IMPORTANT PLANTING CONSIDERATIONS
- It is not actually a tree. It is a woody climber so the cultivation is complicated by the need for a trellis.
- The pollination is not easy so plantations are usually placed different varieties male, pollinating staggered throughout the receptive phase of the female pollinated varieties ensuring effective as possible.
- Kiwifruit is weak to fungal diseases and the nematode Meloidogyne spp.
MOST USED KIWI VARIETIES
They are all of New Zealand origin. In Galicia a hybrid has been created, the kiwiño, whose most striking characteristic is that it lacks hair.