After the greetings of Pasquale Redavid, deputy-mayor of Rutigliano, Vincenzo Falconi, director of "Italia Ortofrutta", Giacomo Suglia, chairman of APEO (Producer and Exporter Association), Vito Rubino, chairman of the Uva di Puglia consortium and Rosario Ferrara, director of APOC Salerno all intervened.
The latter told FreshPlaza that "the meeting lasted three hours and some important data emerged. APOC Salerno suggested a permanent technical board on table grapes, which could also be expanded to include other POs. In addition, we have also presented a project to promote table grapes for the next 2013/14 campaign."
Giacomo Suglia (APEO) adds that he "talked about the general situation of produce in Italy, which seems to be in difficulty irrespective of the single segment discussed. There is no European agricultural policy and the EU should decide for the future, as food production is at the basis of life itself. In addition, we have to consider that demand for food is going to increase globally in terms of both volumes and quality."
The speakers' table.
"Nowadays, commercial farms incur a lot of costs and have many obligations that take away resources from production. It is not possible to go on like this. It is a good thing that a global market means more competition and therefore an improvement of services and cost reduction, but we have to start at the same level."
Vincenzo Falconi from "Italia Ortofrutta" also took part to the discussion with some data on the crisis in Italy. In addition to a 10% drop in fruit and vegetable purchases in the last few years, statistics show that the consumption of fresh produce went from 137 to 132kg a year per person in the past five years.
"Consumers are more aware of prices, and in fact discount stores are more successful. We must think about the future strategies: first of all, we need a new approach with less intermediate passages along the supply chain and a drastic reduction of production costs. In addition, we must plan the campaign and concentrate on supply to make things easier."
The data discussed showed that table grapes manage to gain only 10% of its total value on an average Italian total rate of 45%. Vincenzo Falconi says that "according to our calculus, at least €800 million lack in the system, so we are not well-represented in the OCM (Common market organisation) and there are no funds for operation plans and promotion. This means that the sector could have €70-80 million from Europe, but does not see a single cent of it at the moment."