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EU Hello Kiwi boost fresh fruit trade between SA and Greece

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Participants in the European Union’s Hello Kiwi programme are further building relationships with key players in the South African market to export kiwifruit grown in Europe to South Africa with the aim of Greek kiwi’s to be sold in major retail stores. The EU established the Hello Kiwi programme for the provision and promotion of kiwi fruit in third world countries, specifically Ukraine, Belarus, UAE and South Africa. The programme was launched in October 2015 and aims to promote kiwi fruit grown in Europe at sectorial level and informs targeted groups in terms of European Food Safety and Hygiene Standards and the Quality Characteristics of the European kiwis.

“Hello Kiwi” exhibited at the Food and Hospitality Exhibition (HOSTEX) this year which was held at the Gallagher convention centre. They also held a convention for stakeholders and the media where the Greek Kiwi Producers Association discussed the importance of this trade relationship with South Africa and discussed the regulations with the Fresh Produce Imports Association.

His Excellency the Greek Ambassador Mr. Eleftherios Kouvaritakis from the Johannesburg Embassy commented, “Greek kiwi fruits are exported to more than 50 countries worldwide. In South Africa we have witnessed a significant increase of Greek kiwi fruit exports in recent years. From a mere 700.000 ZAR total value, to a peak of 10 million ZAR.”

“According to preliminary estimations for 2017, the cultivated kiwi fruit hectares were more than 85,000 with a total expected production of 205,000 tonnes. Up until April 2017, 105,000 tonnes had already been exported,” said Kouvaritakis.

Agronomist Katri Katerina stated a vitally important aspect, “Greek kiwis are free of pesticide residues, as cultivation in Greece does not require their use.”

“Kiwis fruits contain some of the highest concentration of vitamin C. In addition, they contain some of the highest natural levels of digestive enzymes that enable protein assimilation. An important aspect is that kiwi seeds are an excellent source of fibre, ” said Nutritionist Nicci Robertson.

The newest variety of Kiwi Fruit on the market is the Kiwi Gold, “Yellow or Gold kiwi fruit are regarded as nutritionally superior due to higher levels of vitamin C, E and potassium – improving iron absorption. Yellow phytonutrients are a source of carotenoids and lutein which protect the eyes, heart and immune system,” said Robertson. The kiwifruit is one of the best sources of high levels of fibre, anti-oxidants and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are chemical compounds produced by the plant to protect itself from viruses, fungi and pathogens while contributing to optimal cellular function in humans. Kiwis also contain a variety of flavonoids and carotenoids, which protects human DNA, as well as high quantities of vitamin C, which is a powerful anti-oxidant and actinidain, a protein-digesting enzyme and an excellent source of potassium. Kiwi fruit produced in Europe is larger and more uniform in shape

The fruit growing seasons in Greece and South Africa complement each other and create mutual benefits. Greece is implementing a roadmap for stabilising the national economy for sustainable growth, which makes it an ideal trading partner.

European Kiwis produced in Greece fully comply with the EU legislation’s Food Safe Regulations and are certified under the AGRO, GLOBALGAP, BRC, IFS and Nature Choice Protocols and the Quality Standards of ISO 9001, ISO 22000 and ISO 14000. -Press release

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