"After recently launching the brand with the family name (Di Manno), we are carrying out a few tests to grow pumpkins in our crops in Nicoya, Costa Rica. It's a beautiful region where people live in peace and where we have recently set up a branch that will start selling our fruit under the Di Manno Fruit brand," explains Stefano di Manno, sales manager for Italfrutta di Manno Srl.
"We've made a few considerable investments in the area, which is particularly suitable for agriculture. We opted for the Delica variety, a hybrid that is among the most popular in Italy thanks to the fact that it is sweet and has few strands, as well as the classic French type."
The banana market
"Although we have a wide range of produce sold under our own brand, we decided to focus on the banana segment as well. The fruit from Ecuador currently dominates the market, but Costa Rica, Colombia, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic are also important countries of origin."
"We believe bananas from Costa Rica are the best, a belief supported by its record exports of 2017. The transit time is of around 17-18 days and I think that these bananas are better than those from Ecuador as they have a sweeter, less woody flavour."
"The banana market is stable at the moment. We trade them all year round, although sales peak between mid-March and mid-May, when local fruits such as kiwis, apples and pears become unavailable. Wholesale prices currently hover around €1/kg, which is rather high, and are then sold at €1.50/kg for extra-premium quality fruit that is minimum 21 cm long."
"We import 400 thousand crates of bananas throughout the year, which are distributed on the domestic market. In April 2018, we will also start to export them abroad under the "Di Manno" brand. It's a new challenge, but we are confident we can compete on the international market."
"There is not a lot of fruit to import at the moment due to the low temperatures between January and April 2017. A lot of produce was damaged, which in turn means banana consumption is growing, despite the lower production due to the cold weather that hit Central America in November-December 2017."