"Italy: "The future of stone fruit is in specialisation"

Stone fruit: June was terrible for what concerns producer prices. Only high-quality (grade and flavour) productions did well, while the standard produce suffered. We asked economist Gianluca Bagnara for a comment.

"2017 was a normal year, exactly like many others during the past 30 years. Prices are high only if the fruit is lacking and they drop when quantities are abundant. However, there are companies that invest with a very different logic, just consider Guidi's apricot project."

Bagnara feels there is indeed a future for the stone fruit sector, but some conditions must be met. The entire chain must specialise starting from the crop, i.e. genetics. Costs must be contained through scale economies. 

"The size of a specialised company is not given by the overall turnover, but by the specific turnover generated by a single product or, even better, by the turnover generated by each single variety."

"As regards consumption, it's nice to talk about trends, millennials, vegetarians, etc., but we must bear in mind spending capacities."

For what concerns the role of the government, he said that "a lot of plans have been implemented over the past 30 years and I sincerely hope there won't be any more, so we can save some public money. One thing they could do for free is publish the prices along the chain."

"Twenty years ago, the Community policy passed from the concept of supporting prices to one of investing to face market objectives. It's better to save money if there is no specific strategy."

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