Italy: Emergency plan for citrus fruit established

The Ministry for Agricultural and Forestry Policy reported that the citrus fruit board, presided over by Undersecretary Giuseppe Castiglione, met on 11th January 2018. The meeting was organised to find ways to tackle the sector crisis.

"We need to make it competitive once again through an integrated approach that can use all resources available. This entails the reinstatement of the production potential and varietal renewal through the €10 million Citrus Fruit Fund set up by the Legge Stabilità 2018."

MAIN ACTIONS

- Emergency measures: withdrawal of 4500 tons of oranges and distribution to the poor. Mipaaf will set up an additional two-phase collection plan for a total of 4,500 tons:
  • 500 tons using the total fund available for countering the Russian ban;
  • approx. 4,000 tons through a public call for the purchase of oranges and distribution to the poor.
Reinstatement of the production potential and varietal renewal 
In order to support a strategy to reinstate the potential productivity of the citrus fruit groves hit by the Tristeza virus, producer actions must be supported by the institutions. The conditions to set up a varietal renewal programme are: 
  • Ensure the availability of pest-free plants for the annual reconversion plan through direct CREA investments;
  • Creation of a national citrus fruit register: the Mipaaf undertakes to define a citrus fruit register in 2018 as a necessary condition to guarantee all market-oriented production plans; 
  • Reconversion: set up of a varietal reconversion plan with certified material that is virus-free using PSR and OCM resources in an integrated manner through producer organisations. 
Citrus fruit fund - €10 million allocated by the Budget Law
In order to stimulate aggregation, sector agreements, internationalisation, competitiveness and high-quality productions, a €10 million Citrus Fruit Fund has been allocated by the Budget Law (2 for 2018, 4 for 2019 and 2020). Mipaaf started involving the sector to discuss the tools to activate.

Exports - additional actions regarding phytosanitary dossiers
A crucial element to achieve a balanced market and improved remuneration are exports and the opening of new markets. Funding has already been allocated to support the presentation of phytosanitary dossiers, i.e. a strategic element to successfully end negotiations with third countries and start exporting Italian citrus fruit.

In addition, the Omnibus will enable POs to finance activities connected to the management of phitosanitary protocols through operational programmes.

Promotion and coordinated actions with retailers

The Ministry is looking to set up extraordinary promotion and consumer information actions together with producers and retailers. €400 thousand have been allocated for 2018 and can be immediately activated to promote the nutritional characteristics of oranges in collaboration with retailers.

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