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Italy: Chestnut exports to the US increasing

Chestnut volumes are finally growing in Italy and are expected to reach 25-30 million kg, a quarter more than 2016 (Coldiretti data). A lot of produce is shipped to the US, where it is used for Thanksgiving and at Christmas. Chestnuts are much appreciated by the Americans, who import them from Avellino, Benevento and Irpinia.

The record of 1913
Chestnuts have been heavily affected in the past few years by an insect from China, the chestnut gall wasp (Dryocosmus kuriphilus). The solution is Torymus Sinensis, which reduced the problem drastically, leading to this year's 25% growth. The record year for exports to the US was 1913 with 35 million tons. 

Campania increases productivity
Should expectations be confirmed, Campania would recover between 66 to 67.5% of its regional potential, which is between 400 and 450 thousand quintals produced on 16 thousand hectares. Before the arrival of the chestnut gall wasp, chestnut production involved over 5,000 companies and around 30 processing companies. Harvesting has just started in the Avellino, Partenio and Montella areas: grades are higher than the current regional average and volumes are expected to reach 70% of the total. 

Journey times by sea and by air
Chestnuts are shipped mostly by sea due to transport costs, but demand for produce shipped by air increases at Christmas time. By sea, chestnuts travel in reefers at 4°C and take 15-18 days to reach the States. The journey lasts only 3 days by air. They can also be shipped as general cargo when temperatures are under 25°C.

Most chestnuts undergo fumigation against parasites. Non-toxic products that don't alter the flavour are used. This procedure is essential to comply with American FDA standards.

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