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Italy: OP Primo Sole aims to work more on the domestic market

Fennel is doing quite well. There is still over one month to go before the end of the season in Metaponto. "The produce will be available until May 20th and expectations are good. Things were rather stable at the start of the year, but the cold weather in February led to higher prices and good-quality productions, so the season will end well," explained Giuseppe Appio from OP Primo Sole, which gathers two cooperatives (Primo Sole and Terre del Sole) as well as the "Marco Simmarano" organic company. Op Primo Sole, set up in 2016, has 24 members covering an area of around 400 hectares. 

The main crops are fennel, brassicas, strawberries, melons, peppers and watermelons. The PO is particularly focused on fennel which, during the winter season, covers around 70% of the crops.

But produce also comes from Fucino and the Isola di Capo Rizzuto area (Calabria), meaning supplies are guaranteed also in case of adverse weather events and that productions are available all year round.

Cauliflower prices skyrocketed after the frost, though "quotations are rather low at the moment."

As for strawberries, the PO commercialises mainly the Sabrosa-Candonga variety from Basilicata as well as Marisol and Melissa. "The quality of Sabrosa-Candonga was initially low, but then prices increased during Easter week and reached €7-8. Now things have gone back to normal with quotations of around €3.50. Quality was good for Melissa and Marisol.

The melon campaign will start in early May and continue throughout summer. A 20% increase in the crops dedicated to courgette and industry pepper production is expected this year.

During its first year, OP Primo Sole registered a turnover of around €6 million. "Our produce is mainly available abroad but we are trying to increase the quantities destined to the domestic market. The fact that our members work together, combined with our range of products and with the fact we are well-organised means buyers choose us rather than our competitors. I believe aggregation is fundamental, especially in the south. It leads to growth and to productions of a higher-quality. In addition, it's an added value when it comes to customer retention."

In the future, new products or new ways to present the products will be introduced. 

Between 9th and 11th May, OP Primo Sole will attend Macfrut in Rimini. "Last year, we realised the importance of taking part in it, not so much to establish new business contacts, but rather because it's an opportunity to showcase the company. The fair can be a first step in a long relationship."

OP Primo Sole

S.S. 175 km 30,500 sc
75024 Montescaglioso (MT)
Tel./Fax: (+39) 0835 201993

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