Negative situations for Sicilian orange exports

"Exports of Sicilian oranges have been dropping over the past few days," reports Pietro Russo, a European citrus fruit market expert.

"The season started very well with excellent produce due to the perfect ripening level. However, now there are some issues caused by the CTV and drought."

Grades are small, which causes a lot of confusion especially when it comes to exports.

"As operators are finding it difficult to place small grades on the domestic market, they tend to undersell it to foreign chains. The latter however speculate, forcing operators to sell out surplus produce at conditions leading to unstable prices."

Non-uniform produce or speculation, that is the question
"Another problem for operators are the quality checks performed by buyers. When the produce doesn't seem to be in line with the characteristics required, it is made available to the general markets, leading to higher transportation costs for producers. At that point, the excellent Sicilian oranges are sold at all prices."

"We need to find a way to monitor marketing prices that have nothing to do with produce integrity. The production segment is often subjected to speculation."

Structural problems
"Most citrus fruit companies have to deal with diseases that require extensive conversion operations consisting in the uprooting of old varieties in favour of new resistant ones. This of course entails exorbitant costs for fuel, electricity and social security, meaning many companies find it difficult to stay afloat. The new Sicilian government should try to address these issues without wasting time in useless conventions and technical round tables held by incompetent bureaucrats."

"In addition, producers should be mapped to identify those that have no right to a reimbursement. This way, money could be saved and given to new producers that aren't being helped at the moment."

"The future is not looking good as grove renewal is very slow. Citrus fruit productions from other areas of the Mediterranean will most likely outdo us, to the disadvantage of our economy and consumers."

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