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Mini kiwi – an extraordinary fruit introduced to cultivation by WULS-SGGW researchers

The researchers from Warsaw University of Life Sciences produced and introduced to cultivation a new species of fruit in the Polish market. Actinidia is the name of the fruit.

In recent years, one of the most important directions in horticulture research has been looking for new plants that would enrich the assortment in the Polish market of fruits and vegetables by providing new species of fruit, characterized by high nutrition and health value, which are also adapted to Polish soil and climate conditions. Actinidia arguta, whose fruit have various names depending on the country: hardy kiwifruit, kiwiberry, kiwai, kiwibes or mini kiwi, fulfills the expectations.

So far, actinidia was planted in our gardens as an ornamental plant, but for some time it has been gaining popularity as commodity crop in many countries of Europe.  The mini kiwi fruits are much smaller than kiwi fruits, but their skin is smooth and edible. The whole fruit can be eaten. It is tasty and rich in healthy elements, such as vitamin C, lutein, polyphenols and a proteolitic enzyme – actindin. The fruit has a significant effect regulating the functioning of the digestive system and has a protective effect on cardiovascular system. Thanks to the small size, smooth skin and high nutrition value, the fruit is in the world seen as a healthy and easy snack. The plant is almost free from any diseases or pest and is perfect for organic cultivation, which makes it even more valuable.

Research conducted by dr hab. Piotr Latocha in the Department of Horticulture, Biotechnology and Landscape Architecture at Warsaw University of Life Sciences resulted not only in recognizing the possibility to cultivate the plant in Poland, but also in growing our own species with very attractive fruits. The best of the species - ‘Bingo’, ‘Domino’ and ‘Lucy’ will soon appear in the horticulture market. The research conducted so far confirmed the attractive taste and good reception of the fruit by the Polish consumers. This fact gives a positive prognosis towards the acceptance of actinidia in the Polish market. Its cultivation may be very profitable even for small-scale growers, as, taking into account  the wholesale price of the fruit in Europe, the potential profit from 2 ha of fruitful plantation might reach 200-250 000 PLN.

A few years ago, also a cooperation with fruit growers from Grójec region was started, thanks to which in 2011 the first commodity plantation of the area of 3 ha was established.

There are new plantations now being started, and the fruits were this year introduced into the consumer market, fulfilling the expectations. It seems that in the next years the fruit has a chance to become a part of our diet, as did the northern highbush blueberry some years ago.