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Competition from abroad and weak consumption

Italy: Difficult market for Italian produce

The Interprofessional pear organisation aims to strengthen the competitiveness of the Italian productive system in the pear sector by way of coordination and cooperation of subjects along the chain.

Gianni Amidei (in the photo), president of the body, assesses the current trend.

How is the market going now that Abate harvesting is over?

Gianni Amidei (GA) - First of all, the season seems positive for producers, as the Abate production is slightly bigger than last year (10-15%) and grades are similar to 2012 for Conference and Decana. Quotations were good and, surprisingly, they were better than last year. 

Currently though, outflow is on the way down both in Italy and abroad, even if quotations are in line with expectations. William pears, which should be at their peak, are affected by competition from French and Spanish summer produce.

Eastern Europe and Russia, with which we did important work last year, are buying volumes from Serbia and Conference pears from Belgium and Holland, as they harvested abundant quantities and are selling them at competitive prices.

The market is moving, and consumption is still disappointing.

The ban on the use of Ethoxyquin must also cause concern.

GA - We are worried about the shelf-life of pears. For this reason, we have been very careful around harvesting time, respecting the homogeneity of fruits and closing storage units promptly. We are relying on refrigeration technologies such as Smart Fresh and Dynamic controlled atmosphere.

In addition to any loss caused by long storing periods, we are sorry to see that Spain and Portugal will be able to use this weapon. That's why we hope that in 2014 something will change: either we go back to the way it was, or we continue, but with the same regulations for all. We did everything at the right time but pressure was lacking at a political and organisational level, which would have been useful in obtaining a dispensation.

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