Sicilian entrepreneur Sebastiano Cosentino identified some of the negative elements affecting the citrus campaign in Sicily: "as regards oranges, we are affected at the foreign markets by competition from Spain, as it has a lot of produce at low prices. Considering the logistic costs and the price of the Sicilian Navelina produce, at the moment we are not working on the foreign markets."
"As regards the domestic market, the warm temperatures of the last period do not support consumption, which in fact is 10-15% lower than last year. Oranges also have to face the competition of other winter fruit like apples and pears. The production of Sicilian blonde oranges in line with last year."
"It is still too early to talk about blood oranges, even though volumes should be slightly more than last year. It will depend on the percentage of small fruits, which are not suitable for the fresh fruit market but could be sent to the processing industry."
"Another element which will make estimates difficult is the voluntary explants of orchards affected by the Tristeza virus, as new trees will take 5-6 years to start producing."
"The Sicilian production of lemons is 15% higher than last year, but we are affected by the Spanish product in this sector too."
One last comment concerned the table grape campaign, which he defined like a true "Way of the Cross".
"As it is not our core business, we work to keep the clients we already have, and therefore we were only partially affected. Sales were 20% lower than last year. The causes are varied: from rainfall at the end of August, which affected the quality of the product, to the fact that the cost of Sicilian grapes is less competitive than the one from Puglia. Puglia too though suffered from the lack of demand from abroad, and especially from the UK. Just add the consumption crisis and then you will begin to wonder where the recovery everybody is talking about really is. We hope that the light, some are seeing, at the end of the tunnel is not in fact the headlight of the locomotive that is about to hit us."
Cosentino Sebastiano e Figlio snc
Via Riccardo Da Lentini, 129
96016 Lentini (SR)
Tel.: (+39) 095 901686
Fax: (+39) 095 902888