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Sicilian purple artichoke producers affected by Egyptian competition

"We have dropped below production costs. Currently, Italian artichokes are paid at 25-35 eurocents per head while it would take 40-50 cents to cover our expenses."

This is what was reported by Christopher Ventura from Ventura in Gela (Caltanissetta). 31-year-old Christopher is in charge of the family business. During a normal year, the company commercialises up to 30 million artichokes.

"This year, however, production is low, also because of the cold temperatures of the past few weeks. Nonetheless, prices are very low (for the Purple variety) because the domestic produce is being replaced by the Egyptian one. Markets and stores are literally flooded with large quantities of artichokes from Egypt, which are cultivated at a much lower cost." 

Left: Sicilian artichokes. Right: Egyptian artichokes in a supermarket.

The entrepreneur stresses that 30 cents per artichoke does not cover production costs even during a normal year. "I firmly believe it is because of the produce imported from Egypt. I say this because Roman artichokes are not produced in Egypt and in fact prices are in line with expectations."

The Sicilian artichoke production was largely affected by the cold temperatures, which also worsened its appearance. "I appeal to all traders to also consider the domestic product."

Ventura Srl
Christopher Ventura

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