Kiwi is a medicinal fruit that is native to China and most parts of southern Asia. Today, large scale kiwi farming is done in New Zealand, France, Chile, and Italy. Kiwi is a perennial deciduous plant that produces round fruits with a pleasant, unique sour taste and short hairs. It thrives in warm areas with high humidity. Over the past few years, the demand for the fruit has increased rapidly in the local and export markets due to its nutritional value and health benefits.
Health benefits of Kiwi Fruit
Kiwi fruit is highly nutritious and contains a large percentage of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin B1 and 2. Vitamin C is important in the body since it reduces the risk of cancer, stroke, heart disease, and chronic diseases in the circulatory system. Also, it enhances the health of teeth, iron absorption, and helps in the maintenance of healthy bones, and healing of wounds. Besides, it contains phosphorus, magnesium, sugar, iron, and calcium. With a low-calorie content and a high nutritional content, Kiwi fruits enhance the overall healing effect on the body.
Degrees of fruit maturity
There are three degrees of fruit maturity in Kiwi harvest management. The first degree is botanical maturity which takes place when the fruit has attained the final size and shape. At this time, nutrients have stopped flowing into the fruits. The second degree is usable maturity which occurs when the fruits are fully developed and are ready for consumption. At this time, the fruits have attained all the ideal qualities in the fruit content such as smell, taste, strength. The third degree is technological maturity which indicates the degree of ripeness of the fruits for consumption. Fruits should be harvested when they have fully ripened and sufficiently softened. Harvesting the fruits too early makes them lose their weight excessively and results in a lot of post-harvest losses since such fruits are not durable in storage. Kiwi fruits are sensitive to freezing and frost hence should be grown in areas that are less prone to frost. Farmers should ensure that they plan their markets early enough to prevent post-harvest losses and to ensure that they are taken to the market early enough.
Commercial kiwi Fruit harvesting
On most occasions, harvesting kiwi fruits can be a complicated task, especially when growing the fruits for commercial purposes. The advancements in agricultural technology have led to the introduction of a harvesting tool called a refractometer. This tool is used by commercial kiwi farmers to measure the sugar levels in the fruit to determine whether it’s mature enough to be harvested. Home gardeners require extensive knowledge of kiwi fruits to know when the fruits are fully mature. In some cases, the fruit might have attained the full size, but it’s mature enough for harvesting. Kiwi fruits should be harvested when it fully softens off the vine. Unlike other fruits, kiwi fruits fully ripen after they have been removed from the vine. After harvesting, the fruits should be stored in areas with high humidity and cold temperatures. This helps in preserving them longer for up to 4 – 6 months.
Retailing at competitive prices in the export market, Kiwi farming can be a lucrative venture for smallholder and largescale farmers. Kiwi farming requires skill and expertise. Apart from quality kiwi seedlings, Oxfarm Ag Ltd provides you with soil testing services, farm inputs such as irrigation and fertigation systems at competitive prices, and agronomy support to ensure that you achieve success in Kiwi farming.