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Sele Plain

"Italy: We mustn't generalise in regards to the "Terra dei Fuochi" emergency"

The "Terra dei Fuochi" scandal (the name refers to the area in the Campania region between Napoli and Caserta, where tons of toxic waste were buried for decades) is causing a lot of damage to the agricultural sector in the Salerno province, and especially in the fresh-cut range, where there has been a 30% drop in purchase orders.

"We must clarify the data regarding waste in the Terra dei Fuochi, but a psychosis is developing that can undermine the sector in the Salerno province. We have already reported a drop in sales, especially concerning the fresh-cut sector in the Sele Plain, which is very important for the economy of the area," stresses Vittorio Sangiorgio, chairman of Coldiretti Salerno.

The Azienda Agricola Altamura, which has been operating in the Sele Plain for 5 generations and is specialised in the production of baby leaf and packed unwashed products also commented on the situation.

"At the moment, we haven't had any cancellations, but a crisis is always lurking. The seasonal campaign has just started and we might be affected in the future," states Fabio Altamura who runs the company, together with brothers Alfonso and Giuseppe.

"The increasing news on the waste phenomenon is a negative signal for those who usually buy our produce, as they can be influenced by unfounded information. Just think about what happened when the dioxin problem regarding buffalo mozzarella came out - some companies were deeply affected and weren't even involved in the scandal. If this were to happen to us too, it would be a colossal disaster."



According to Fabio, the problem is all the more serious because, at the moment, the agricultural sector is the only one capable of fighting the economic crisis and creating jobs in the South. "Publishing this news with no checks and causing panic is worrying to us. Both at a domestic and international level. Everybody is concerned about the safety of what they eat, but generalisation is absurd."

"Our products comply with high quality standards: they are checked multiple times a week and the analysis is carried out by qualified laboratories commissioned both by us and by our clients."

"We must try to support our products to the max. Institutions should try a little harder to promote produce from Campania, and especially from the Sele Plain. These reports do not help us: we have always had positive feedback, with requests coming in from new markets, like Eastern Europe, that are just entering the fresh-cut sector."

"A special regulation for the Terra dei Fuochi"
Stefano Caldoro, president of the Campania region, is once again asking for government intervention to solve the environmental rehabilitation question for the Terra dei Fuochi territory between Acerra, Giugliano and Caicano. "This territory only represents 5% of our amazing land. It was attacked and raped by 30 years of mafia and illegal transfers from all over Italy and Europe."

"It is a national case and a national emergency, as the Head of State reported. Therefore we must intervene right away. The Region already did a lot, just like local organisations, community and citizens did. Now we need the strong and determined action from national institutions."

Source: salerno.coldiretti.it / Redazione FreshPlaza / napoli.repubblica.it

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