Italy: Exporting citrus fruit and kiwis to China

The visit of the two Chinese inspectors to assess the cold treatment procedure before the shipment of kiwis and citrus fruit to facilitate exports to China has ended well. 

The visit was coordinated by CSO Italy with the support of ICE as part of a programme set up with the Ministry for Economic Development aimed at favouring the health and phytosanitary missions necessary to open markets where there are non-tariff barriers for the export of Italian food products.

The Ministry for Agricultural Policy, the Italian Embassy in Beijing, the phytosanitary services of the Emilia Romagna and Sicily region and business all cooperated during this visit.

Four "sample" companies were involved to display the processing and packaging systems with particular attention to the kiwi and citrus fruit storage phase. Inspectors visited the Salvi/Unacoa and Agrintesa facilities in Emilia Romagna for kiwis and Oranfrizer and Paimfrut in Sicily for citrus fruit. 

The visit ended in Rome at the Ministry for Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policy with representatives from the National Phytosanitary Service. 

Inspectors assessed the facilities, equipment and technical methods used for cold treatment. Together with company representatives, regional phytosanitary inspectors showed their Chinese colleagues how the various passages required by the protocols are implemented. The visit was also an occasion to assess the entire production chain.

Everything complied with the requirements and even went beyond expectations. In addition, they appreciated the availability and clarity with which the Italians showed and explained the various procedures required. 

Now the Chinese authorities will send their official report to the Ministry. The hope is for the shipments of citrus fruit and kiwis to start soon. In addition, cold treatments could favour shipments with other means of transport as well, such as for example trains. 

Kiwi exports to China have recently exceeded 13,000 tons a year. The data concerning the latest campaign is not available yet, but around 3,600 tons had already been shipped in October against the 1,800 of the previous year.

The Chinese market is very interesting for blood oranges as well, and this mission was essential to make the delegation understand just how important it is to keep transit times to a minimum to maintain quality standards high.

"This mission is very important for companies and it proves how it's important not only to sign protocols but also how conditions must be improved over time. This was all made possible thanks to the effort, hard work and professionalism of the companies that have been exporting to China as well as to the checks implemented so far," explained Simona Rubbi, manager for the opening of new markets at CSO Italy.

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