Amico Bio's team at Fruit Logistica 2018.
Established in 1994 as a family business specialising in organic produce, Amico Bio has become a biodynamic company in 2005. "The company has grown gradually and specialised in the production of vegetables. We currently own 150 hectares and, according to the biodynamic philosophy, 30 hectares are used as stables where we keep cows and pigs. The manure becomes compost and is our main fertiliser," explains Enrico Amico, President and and Amico Bio manager together with siblings Orsola and Pasquale, his wife Marcella and nephew Francesco.
Amico Bio also owns 30 hectares of polytunnels and two warehouses, one destined to packed unwashed and one for fresh-cut products (covering 1,200 sq m, refrigerated and used to package produce collected from their partners as well). 95% of the production is exported, mainly to Germany, Switzerland, England and Scandinavia.
Rocket, radicchio and edible flower mix.
"No CMS seeds can be used in biodynamics. As most brassicas - Savoy cabbage and kohlrabi, for example - derive from CMS (sterile male) seeds, we worked with Sativa to obtain a green kohlrabi variety, a few salads and a red kohlrabi variety that respond to current commercial criteria without being hybrids or CMS hybrids." In March, the cooperation will focus on courgettes.
Amica Bio's President stresses that seeds are produced in areas where final vegetables are grown. "We used to work with seeds replicated in Germany and the Netherlands but, according to our experience, seeds produced locally have a different vigour. The environmental factor is crucial in seed production."
"Logistics is still traditional - road transport pollutes in the same way as for traditional products. However, we have bypassed a lot of intermediate commercialisation reaching final directly and shortening the chain."
Is Italy ready for biodynamic cultivation?
According to Amico Bio's president, Italy is not culturally read for biodynamic cultivation, "unlike countries such as Germany, who appreciate it and understand its value. In addition, this country recognises the value of regional productions even if they are more expensive. Consumers see it as an opportunity to make the domestic economy grow."
There are also very few players in Italy. "As long as there are only a few traders, prices will continue to be high. Sometimes, Italian produce in Germany has a lower price than in Italy. It's incredible, but it's due to the higher competition."
"As a closed-cycle biodynamic company, we care a lot about energy, and we produce all the energy we consume. We are self-sufficient and are looking to increase photovoltaic production. In addition, we are thinking about creating a school for those wishing to specialise in biodynamic agriculture."