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Giuseppe Appio (Coo. Primo Sole)

Italy: High temperatures cause fluctuating fennel and cauliflower supply

"We grow fennel on 140 hectares during November and May. We are now starting to cut it and finish transplants at the same time," says Giuseppe Appio, sole administrator of the Primo Sole cooperative.

"The quality is good even though the weather - with high temperatures in October and November - is making the produce ripen early. If things do not change, there will be a lot of produce up until December and then quantities will decrease."

Primo Sole was founded in 1996 by a group of producers with the objective of promoting their produce domestically and abroad.

The company is located in the province of Matera (Basilicata), where it is possible to cultivate produce with unique organoleptic qualities the whole year round. Vegetables grown here are rich in potassium and thanks to abundant sunlight and water, they have a full and balanced flavour.

Primo Sole specialises in the production and sale of fennel, white, green and Roman cauliflower and purple and Roman artichokes. During summertime it also grows melons and watermelons.

The produce is processed in a 1,600 sqm plant, equipped with two cold storage units. It is selected according to its quality, grade, appearance and packaging. External shipping companies distribute the produce to retailers and domestic and foreign markets using refrigerator trucks. 

Primo Sole sells fennel to domestic and foreign retailers in France and Belgium in particular, but also to Switzerland and Germany.
The produce is packed in many formats, 10-piece plastic or wooden crates, in 30x50 wooden packets containing 14 to 18 pieces (these mostly go abroad), in EPS packets containing 10 pieces/4 kg of produce and in 40x60 IFCOs containing 18-21 pieces/6 kg. Finally, there are also 2,3 or 4 piece flow-packed or filmed trays.

"The previous campaign ended with good produce and relatively high prices, whereas the autumn campaign started with disappointing prices due low consumption rates. The general trend will not be one of the best, because prices are 30% lower than last year."

"Cauliflowers are also important for our company. We grow them between December and March on 40 hectares, 60% of which are destined to be white cauliflowers, whereas the rest is divided equally between green and Roman varieties.

The produce is also exported to Germany and Hungary. Packaging options are 40x60 wooden crates containing 6-8 pieces for the foreign market and 30x50 wooden crated containing 6-8 pieces for the domestic market, due to it demands smaller grades.

"Cauliflowers are more affected by changes in temperature, as they grow quickly with warm weather and can even stop growing when it is cold. Supply is bound to fluctuate this year."

"Finally, we have started with the purple artichoke campaign, which will end in December and start again in February-March. We will also start harvesting Roman artichoke in January."

"Consumption is good at the moment, as we manage to sell everything we harvest. Prices though are not very profitable: we are stuck at 10 cents per head and only reach 20-27 cents for the processed produce (packaging and transport included). Although, harvesting goes on until the end of April, so we must wait for a real assessment."

The Primo Sole cooperative is associated with the Esedra PO (UNI EN ISO 9001:2008 certification and GlobalGAP option 2 protocol) since 2006 - a strategic choice for planning, promotion and cost reduction.

Primo Sole Soc.Coop. Agricola

C.da Selvapiana SS 175 Km 30,500
75024 Montescaglioso (MT)
Tel.: (+39) 0835 201992
Fax: (+39) 0835 201993

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