Italy: Chestnut cultivation needs to step up

Chestnuts have been doing well over the past three years. Quantities increased between 2015 and 2017 after the serious damage caused by the chestnut gall wasp. However, Elvio Bellini, president of the Chestnut study centre in Florence, warns producers not to let their guard down.

"Italian production is seldom carried out professionally. Most chestnut orchards are centuries old and are not easy to reach with mechanical means."

One of the main European producers is Turkey. There are companies in that country who export to Italy throughout the whole year, with the aim of supplying the processing industry. 

"Chestnuts grow best in hill and foothill areas, but modern chestnut cultivation must adapt to flat areas in order to evolve."

Enrico Zanzi, technician from Vivai F.lli Zanzi, explains that the most popular variety is Bouche De Betizac, which is sold on both the domestic and foreign markets. We have also been exporting to Croatia and Bulgaria. Irrigation is practically compulsory and planting layouts are similar to those of walnuts, i.e. 5x5. Fertilisation and nutrition plans are also essential. Chestnut trees prefer soils with a rather acidic pH." 

The quality of the final produce is also important. A few years ago, Unitec introduced Chestnut Vision, an innovative system to sort chestnut quality. The system can sort and detect chestnut defects (holes as little as half a millimetre and peel defects). 

Italian chestnut cultivation needs to step up and producers must work together to make the produce available for at least two months a year with constant quality. Packaging and communication must be good and chestnuts must be sold conveying the emotions of the territory of origin.

Publication date:

Receive the daily newsletter in your email for free | Click here

Other news in this sector:

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber