Italians fearful of copycat Chinese imports killing off demand for their prized homegrown delicacies have added another culinary touchstone to the danger list: the chestnut. As cheaper Chinese chestnuts flood the market, Italian harvests have plunged by 70% since 2005 to 18,000 tons this year due to the arrival from China of a deadly wasp, Dryocosmus kuriphilus [i.e. Asian chestnut gall wasp], that damages trees by laying eggs in them…Full-text article: Fresh Plaza Nov 2013

Key point

  • The marroni chestnut is a popular variety in Italy, but is suffering due to the wasp and cheaper Chinese imports

ChinaAg Comment

  • China is world’s largest producer of chestnuts. From 2000 to 2011, Chinese chestnut production increased an average of 10% per year, with the largest growth occurring from 2002 to 2008. The increase in production was not due to increased yields, but rather an increase in the cultivation area. From 2002 to 2011, the area harvested increased from 130,000 hectares to 310,000 hectares.

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