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Italy: Fewer hectares of onions harvested in spring
Some blame the productions in northern Europe, others increasing stocks or imports. The fact is that producers are abandoning the onions sown in September and harvested in May-June because they are no longer profitable.
"Cultivated hectares have more than halved in the past few years. I believe that, in northern Italy, we have gone from 700 to 250 in just a few years. It's a real pity because it was good for both consumers and producers. But prices have dropped," explains expert Marco Bastoni.
Francesco Sarti, a producer from Budrio (Bologna), currently grows onions on three hectares, far fewer than a few years ago. "Our early produce is excellent, but it has to compete with that from northern Europe. Many countries still have produce available in May and June, so they no longer import. Our onions in June must be sold quickly because they don't last very long."
The produce grown in winter has very good organoleptic qualities. It's not sweet, but it's definitely more easily digestible and "lighter" compared to that harvested in August. Why are foreign countries importing less, then? Because of their own stocks, produce coming from the other hemisphere and early local productions.
"These onions are essential to guarantee domestic produce to Italian consumers throughout the year, but now there are gaps that we need to fill with imports. I don't think it's very clever. Retailers, who often talk about local Italian products, should require and sell Italian onions all year round."
Publication date: 9/20/2017
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