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Sicilian lemon summer season

The Sicilian lemon season is practically over and verdello will only be available for the next two months. FreshPlaza talked about it with Salvatore Magliocco, vice-president of a large company that has been commercialising Sicilian citrus fruit for over 30 years.

Salvatore Magliocco

"The citrus fruit campaign was particularly positive for lemon producers as prices were rather high throughout the year, from October until May - they never dropped below €0.50 (for first category produce)."

Industry productions
People sometime think that it's the premium produce that generates a profit, but things were different this year, as the price of third category fruit, i.e. that destined to the processing industry, is actually what drove the sector, as prices reached peaks of €0.40.

Lemon consumption is increasing not only in Italy but also abroad thanks to the promotional activities of the various districts and consortia. The hard promotional work carried our by various companies is just as important to reach elite markets.

"The Syracuse area with its femminello lemons is the vastest production area on the island. Plants blossom four times a year, so the fruit should never be lacking although they produce less in summer."

Four blossomings
"Despite the fact that plants blossom four times a year, most cooperatives are ending the season early because there is no produce available. In the meantime, markets are literally flooded with foreign fruit from North Africa and Argentina, leading to a drop in prices even for the few excellent domestic lemons left."

The market confuses commodities with valuable productions
"The foreign produce has a lower price and is therefore preferred. The only possibility for our produce is selling abroad, where organic fruit is more popular, which of course cannot be imported from South America or Africa due to the long transfer. Of course organic lemons are less resistant to trips overseas." 

Forecast for 2018/19
As for the next campaign, Magliocco thinks "the season will be particularly early due to the current weather conditions. While, in the past few years, the last rains came in April with high temperatures already in late May, this year temperatures are milder and rain is helping fruit develop reducing plant stress. We are enthusiastic about the next campaign and are hoping to improve the quality of our productions."

"Our lemons are among the best in the world thanks to their unique organoleptic qualities. But we need to improve communication and promotion of the culture and tradition connected to our lemons."

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