Until a few years ago, it was unthinkable to grow tropical fruits such as the mango or the papaya in Italy. Today, it is possible thanks to climate change. The economist specialised in agricultural matters Gianluca Bagnara explains, “It is important not to repeat the same old mistakes and immediately position oneself on the premium lines. Italian avocados, mangoes and papayas should be of top quality”.
Therefore, it is useless to compete with foreign producers. Rather, we should identify a supply chain with excellent fruit thanks to the shorter distance. Unlike products coming from North Africa or South America, the Italian tropical fruit could ripen right on the plants and undergo a final conditioning phase only.
Bagnara adds, “Except for already existing experiences – like in Sicily – it may be appropriate to create a network of companies, to increase the surfaces, to experiment and to create an Italian premium exotic fruit brand. If we do not do that, someone else will. I have heard of Israeli companies seeking lands and fields in Italy”.
For example, there are some Sicilian companies who have been producing avocado for years. But there is still a lot to do regarding other types of exotic fruit. As Bagnara observes: if countries like Russia are planting thousands of hectares of stone fruit, why should Italy not diversify in another direction?