Feijoa may become one of Georgia’s most lucrative export crops (video)


Feijoa may become one of Georgia’s most lucrative export crops (video)

08/06/2020

Now the area for feijoa in Georgia has grown to 360-400 hectares

In Georgia, areas under an exotic fruit for our region – feijoa – are rapidly growing. This crop has become especially popular among farmers in the Samegrelo region, where nowadays almost all residents have at least a few feijoa bushes on their backyards. This fruit has come to the taste of local residents, and the demand for it in other regions of Georgia is also actively growing. By the way, feijoa is an excellent source of iodine, and there are not very many such plant products in the world.

To understand why Georgia became interested in feijoa, we turned to Zviad Bobokashvili, Doctor of Agricultural Sciences of Georgia. Together with Katerina Poberezhnaya, an international consultant to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), they prepared an interesting video about feijoa, in which you can find out all the details about this interesting, promising and useful crop, see how it grows and blooms in Georgia.

EastFruit video about feijoa from Guria (Georgia):

In Georgia, feijoa was introduced to Adjara and Abkhazia at the beginning of the twentieth century. Zviad Bobokashvili says that by 1940 there were about 160 hectares of feijoa in Georgia, and now the area under feijoa in Georgia has grown to 360-400 hectares. The main areas of feijoa are concentrated in Western Georgia – in the regions of Zugdidi, Lanchkhuti, Kobuleti, Khobi and Samtredia, although some trees are also found in the east – in the regions of Sagarejo, Gurjaani, Lagodekhi and Marneuli.

At the same time, there are very few industrial plantings of feijoa – as a rule, it is grown in personal plots. However, in Megrelia (Western Georgia) the first industrial plantations are already appearing, because the yield of feijoa reaches 15-20 tons per hectare. Feijoa is mainly grown in Georgia on the Black Sea coast, because this fruit has a low cold resistance and is damaged by frosts at 10-12 degrees below zero. Read more about the technology of growing feijoa at the end of the material.

It is interesting that feijoa is pollinated not only by insects, but also by birds. Even the flowers of the feijoa are delicious. This is what attracts birds. However, people also love the taste of feijoa flowers.

Feijoa also has good prospects in the organic segment. Since this plant does not have very many pests and diseases in Georgia, it can also be grown organically, which will further increase the value of the fruit when exported to countries where organic is already an established trend.

Given the expansion of the area, the production of feijoa in Georgia is also actively growing. According to EastFruit analysts, Georgia is actively increasing the export of feijoa. In 2019, the export of Georgian feijoa almost doubled and reached 400 tons, and the main market was Ukraine, where 235 tons of these exotic fruits were sent. Armenia was also a major buyer – that is, supplies were mainly made to the markets of neighboring countries, since this fruit is not very transportable. Recently, export shipments of feijoa from Georgia to Russia, Slovenia and Belarus have also been registered. If a system is developed for finalizing these exotic fruits, then it is possible that Georgia will be able to make good money on exporting feijoa to the EU countries.

The following varieties of feijoa are mainly widespread in Georgia: “Superba” and “Kulidzhi”. “Superba” is an Australian variety, characterized by medium-sized fruits, fruit weight – 30-50 g, round, smooth surface, medium-ripe variety, requires cross-pollination, is characterized by high yield. “Coolidge” is an Australian variety, medium size, average fruit weight – 40-60 g, elongated elliptical shape, characterized by a slightly woody skin, early-medium maturity variety, self-pollinated, characterized by high yields.

Other industrial varieties of feijoa, which are also widely cultivated, are: Triumph, Mammoth, Trask (an improved clone of Coolidge), Choyesana, Nezamets and others. Georgia should pay attention to the more transportable and lighter varieties that are now appearing among breeders, in particular in New Zealand. This would allow Georgia to increase the export of feijoa to the EU countries.

It is noteworthy that the production of feijoa on a commercial scale is relatively rare in the world. Its main manufacturer and exporter is now New Zealand, which commercializes and advertises the product extensively. Feijoa is also grown commercially in Australia, the USA (California, Florida), Sicily (Italy) and Portugal.

Citrus market analysts have noted an increase in demand for feijoa, especially in Europe and the United States. Therefore, it would be desirable that Georgian farmers take seriously the cultivation of this crop. With increased production of feijoa and improved fruit quality, as well as the development of cooling and processing infrastructure, it is possible that feijoa will become a new and promising export product.

Feijoa is a subtropical culture, but much more adapted to the climatic conditions of Georgia than citrus fruits. Feijoa begins growing in Adjara in early March, at the end of April flower buds already appear on the shoots of the current year, flowering begins in the first ten days of May – June. The flowering period is 25-30 days, sometimes even up to 50 days.

The feijoa plant is characterized by relatively weak growth, begins to germinate in the 4-5th year after planting, and begins to bear full fruiting in the 8-10th year. The average yield of a bush is 15-18 kg, although some plants in some cases can produce up to 22-30 kg. The average yield per hectare is 15-20 t / ha.

For growing feijoa plantations, it is best to choose fertile, humus-rich, humus-calcareous soils, brown soils, calcareous or slightly alluvial soils of medium and light texture. Less suitable are eroded slopes, heavy clay and loamy soils, and less drained and wetlands.

Before planting, the soil is deeply cultivated 40-45 cm, then the soil is loosened and prepared for planting a seedling.

For growing in the garden, the following planting schemes are recommended – 4 x 4 m or 4 x 3 m, you can also plant with a 5 x 2, 5 x 3 system. Plants are planted in pre-prepared pits 40-45 cm deep, when planting it is better to add 12- 15 kg of humus or compost. The newly planted plant is tied up on a support and loosened into loose soil. In places where there is no danger of winter frosts, seedlings are planted in late autumn, and in other cases in spring, in March-April. For planting, it is better to use two-year seedlings with soil loam, since seedlings with bare roots do not take root well.

Manure and peat compost are used on plantations during autumn tillage of 80-100 t / ha. Phosphate flour, ammonium nitrate, potassium salt are used as mineral fertilizers. In an adult plantation, it is recommended to add 150-180 g of nitrogen, 200-220 g of phosphorus and 100-120 g of potassium per bush in terms of the active substance.

The feijoa plant is formed in the form of a bush – at this time, 5-6 of the most well-developed shoots are selected, and the rest are cut off at the base. Feijoa develops relatively less frequent offshoots, so it doesn’t require a lot of pruning. New shoots, as well as dried and diseased ones, are usually removed in the spring.

Feijoa is relatively less susceptible to pests and diseases, so it won’t be difficult to grow it bio or organic. Among pests, it is susceptible to mites, as well as diseases with leaf rot. In this case, it is necessary to use the appropriate insecticides “B-68, Dursban), acaricides (sinmayt, neoron, norosan, etc.) and fungicides (copper chloride, ridomil).

The early feijoa varieties are harvested in late September. Fruit does not ripen at the same time, therefore several days of harvest are required. The period of massive ripening begins in the second half of October – the first half of November. After ripening, the fruits become light green, soft and fragrant, overripe fruits easily fall off when the branches are shaken. The fruits are picked by hand and placed neatly in baskets and buckets. Feijoa fruits are characterized by a shorter shelf life; the storage time in cool warehouses, depending on the variety, does not exceed 2-4 weeks.

For reference: Feijoa (old name – Feijoa celloviana Berg, according to the new classification – Atseta Shellotsiana (Berger) – is an evergreen shrub of the myrtle family, 3-5 m tall with an original gray stem and beautiful shiny dark green leaves. Feijoa has ovoid, green fruits weighing 30 -60 grams, which are characterized by an incomparable sweet and sour taste and pineapple aroma.

Feijoa is a very healthy fruit. The use of these fruits in food has a positive effect on human health, which is largely due to the chemical composition. Its fruits are rich in pectin, sugars, various trace elements, vitamins and, most importantly, contain a particularly large amount (2.0-4.0 mg / 1000 g) of iodine. Feijoa is also used to make marmalades, jams, compotes, lemonades and juices. Thanks to the original tree, beautiful evergreen leaves, long flowering, it is often used for decorative purposes.

CFeijoa branches

Feijoa is native to South America and can often be found in the wild in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. The plant was first described in 1819 on a scientific expedition to the province of Rio Grande do Zul in southern Brazil led by the German naturalist Friedrich Selov and the Brazilian scientists João and Silva Feijo. It is with their surnames that the public name of this culture is associated – “Feijoa”, and the scientific name is “Selova”. A special role in the study and distribution of feijoa was played by the French professor of the Versailles school of fruits Edouard André, who brought this culture to Europe from La Plata (Argentina) in 1890, and the German botanist Ernst Berger, who was the first to make its botanical classification.

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