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Italy: New potato campaign at Bellipario

For an update about the trend of the new potato campaign 2012, FreshPlaza interviewed Maria Lucia Bellipario who runs the farm Antonio Bellipario together with her father Antonio and her brother Mimmo in Polignano (Bari, Italy).

In Apulia the new potato campaign starts in the middle of May soon after the one in Sicily and goes on until the end of July or the very beginning of August, when excessive hot weather can provoke tuber diseases.

Maria Lucia Bellipario.

“This year”, Maria Lucia says, “spring is cool and no early production has been recorded. As opposed to last year, weather has not benefited any regions in particular.”

The strength of the Apulian company is represented by the typical new potato from Polignano (summer harvest) and the 'late new' potato which is sown at the end of the summer season and is harvested between November and December. This is fresh and without anti-sprouting agents so it is really appreciated by the most demanding consumers who are keen on health.

“Starting from these dates”, Maria Lucia explains, “we are going to increase the acreage (we own 12 hectares) dedicated to the 'late new' potatoes by means of seed contracts next autumn.”

“Last season, indeed, the freshness of the late potato during the winter – when most of the tubers present in the market were kept in cool stores and treated with anti-sprouting agents – let us get a more convenient price than during the summer harvest, when there is even more competition.”

“For the next season, we are going to produce Safrane, Antea, Everest and Universa varieties as well as the Spunta variety, whose profit is always excellent, because they guarantee good profit and size homogeneity which large retailers demand”, Maria Lucia explains.

The company carries out tests on the potato varieties in order to choose those that are more suitable for everyone’s requirements. “Our earth is red so we need suitable varieties. In Belgium, for example, our new potatoes are appreciated because they are not washed so their thin peel is not damaged and, even after the polishing, makes them recognizable.

As far as the cropped surface is concerned, for new potatoes from Polignano there is a reduction of 20-25% in seeding. Now there is 1,000 hectares for the new potatoes while last year there were 1,300 hectares, consequently 300,000 quintals of potatoes will be sold this year (100,000 quintals less than last year).

Finally, Maria Lucias says: “The last potatoes of the winter harvest and the first Sicilian potatoes have satisfying prices, but this is what happens when products are lacking.”

With 50-year experience, the family farm – which collaborates with Franco Frugis, Francesco Stoppa and Lorella Bellipario – thanks to a 2,000 square metre factory with refrigerating rooms is able to supply the demanding requirements of the European market.

Besides the production, Antonio Bellipario Ortofrutta, deals also with commercialization both in Italy and abroad, where it has close relationships with supermarket chains in Belgium and Germany.

Finally, Maria Lucia Bellipario ensures the quality of the product, “the areas of Zapponeta (Foggia), Polignano (Bari), and Galatina (Lecce) are particularly suited for the production of potatoes and we believe in our skills and those of our expert producers. All the rest is up to the market.”

Antonio Bellipario Ortofrutta
C.da Torre Annibale, n.c.
70044 Polignano a Mare (Bari)
Phone: +39 (0)80 4240476
Fax: +39 (0)80 4161817
Email: info@bellipario.com
Web: www.bellipario.com

Publication date: 4/26/2012


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