Italy: Being alarmists harms the table grape sector

While it's true that there has been bad weather during the current table grape season in Puglia, there is information that risks ruining one of the sectors that best represents Italy. FreshPlaza talked about it with a local operator.

"There are areas where grapes has been damaged. Up until September 7th 2018, there were heavy hailstorms and the grapes not covered in films were damaged. Those under polytunnels are currently being harvested, earlier than in the past years. The campaign should also end early."

Photo taken from the CIA-Agricoltori Italiani Puglia Facebook page

"This year is rather weird as it was characterized by low temperatures, frost, whirlwinds and hailstorms. The weather is good at the moment, it's breezy and ideal for harvesting. We have estimated a loss of around 18-20%, but things will also depend on consumption."

"Even if demand remains on a normal level, the season will end early. If consumption drops, it won't matter whether there's produce available or not. Consumption is moderate at the moment, so there's no rush to make a program. But it's not surprising, as it happened in the other campaigns as well. The only difference is that we're about to harvest the later varieties."

Produce storage programs won't be taken into consideration before mid-October. "So it's too early to make a forecast."

The cracking problem
"The phenomenon affected a few ripe batches. I could say it's a catastrophe, like most media would do, but I don't feel like doing it. What I can say is that harvesting is going smoothly and that the produce is appealing and nice to eat."

"The Italian table grape season is not over. The lack of produce could make itself known in October."

The analysis of APEO Puglia
FreshPlaza also talked to Giacomo Suglia, President of APEO-Associazione Produttori Esportatori Ortofrutticoli: "Nobody is denying that there is a problem, but I'd like to stress that the entire chain is behaving very professionally. The grapes we are shipping are not the ones in the pictures that we see online. I would actually like to reassure European consumers that they can trust Italian products as they are among the most checked in the world." 

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