Italy: Retailers sometimes make demands they shouldn't be making

A former technician from a consortium in northern Italy reports that retailers impose limitations that are actually against production standards, such as the maximum limit of 4 active principles for crop defence. 

"Production specifications recommend alternating active principles and action mechanisms to obtain good results with the main diseases, while retailers require few active principles without thinking about the fact that the repeated use of a few principles leads to resistances. For example, using only 4 principles means treatments will be less effective, as pathogens will become more tolerant."

Another problem is that growers/producers are asked a lot but receive almost nothing back. "Sometimes, the formulations of plant protection products are difficult to understand for us technicians as well. In addition it's not easy to see why, despite the standards, there are many derogations, around 50-60 a year."

All the work producers do to meet retailer demands should be paid well, not paid less. Through the Regions, the EU finances those following integrated control standards.

"It would be better to use part of these funds to truly promote our produce and create a single brand that identifies peaches/nectarines, for example. A name is not enough to create a brand, as quality needs to stand out. A brand is useless if consumers can't see the difference from the rest."

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