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Sicily: Difficult situation for the lemon sector in the area of Siracusa

An analysis of the current situation of the lemon sector in the area of Siracusa thanks the opinion of some producers of the area. 

In the area of Siracusa there is a big production of lemons whose variates are really appreciated both in Italy and abroad. 

Despite being a product with excellent aesthetic and organoleptic qualities such as juiciness and the efforts made by small and medium producers, the market does not seem to show enough interest in this product.

At the beginning of the campaign 2010/11 (in October 2010), the basic price was €0.60 to the producer for the "primo fiore" variety which is quite early in the area, and its price was about €0.30 Kg in the months of March/April 2011.

The campaign 2011/12 recorded a drop in the producer price, with a slight reduction both for the first and second choice of the "primo fiore" variety. The price was €0.50 kg in October 2011, while in April 2012 it dropped to €0.21 for the first choice and €0.05 kg for the second choice. This is leading to a suffocation of the sector and the maintenance of the blooming citrus trees is at risk. 

In order to face the growing costs of irrigation, maintenance of land, fertilizing and the payment of tax, producers' income is falling. It was recorded €0.10-0.15 kg for the first choice and about € 0.04-0.07 kg for the second choice.

The producers interviewed by FreshPlaza observe, "The missing guardianship of the product "femminello siracusano", the import of Spanish, Argentinian and Turkish lemons, the presence in the market of lemons coming from Africa and sold as Sicilian, the lack of care about such a sensitive economic situation are the background of the problematic maintenance of citrus trees".

"It seems convenient to take action starting with doubling the price to the consumers in order to make them the real price. In this way there will be tax relief from the products used in agriculture and there might also be a regional and national action to gain market shares abroad (Baltic and Scandinavian countries and Russia)".

Producers reported that there are no controls on the commercialization of the product, on the price paid to the producer and there is no promotion abroad about the "Made in Italy" product.

At the moment, the harvest of "primo fiore" is nearly finished and the harvest of "bianchetti" variety is going to start, whose price will be about €0.28-0.30 kg for the first choice and €0.06kg for the second choice.

Publication date: 5/11/2012


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