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Italy is set to produce around 461,500 tonnes of commercial-grade kiwifruit this season, according to FreshInfo’s website.

The forecast came from Consorzio Servizi Ortofrutticoli (CSO), an industry forecast association.

Italy is Europe’s largest producer of the fruit and forecasts its production will rise by 16% compared with the previous year to 512,753 tonnes, while remaining slightly up on the five-year average for 2006-10, the report said, quoting Eurofruit's Mike Knowles’s report.

However, CSO analyst Elisa Macchi pointed out at trade show Macfrut that the increase in supply would be nearer 12%. Sales of Italian kiwifruit to the UK fell in 2010-11, by 9.2% to 14,431 tonnes.

Despite increases in production expected in both Emilia Romagna (up 49% to 82,021 tonnes) and Piedmont (up 38% to 129,672 tonnes), the percentage of crop for which individual fruits will be over the commercial minimum of 65g will be 90%, compared with 93% in 2010.

Kiwifruit forecasts for other key European suppliers include an anticipated 8% increase for France (70,000 tonnes), a 23% rise for Greece (89,500 tonnes) and a 6% upturn for Spain (12,475 tonnes). Only Portugal is forecasting a smaller kiwifruit harvest, down 6% to 16,000 tonnes.

Elsewhere, forecasts point to a dramatic 37% increase in kiwifruit output to 26,925 tonnes in the US state of California this season, its biggest crop for six years. South Korea's kiwifruit output, meanwhile, is expected to be 8% greater in 2011 at 14,700 tonnes.

Source: FreshInfo

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