Italy: Spanish competition is an obstacle for the Sicilian Lemon

The Sicilian lemon campaign started a few weeks ago. Yet, immediately, Spanish competition represented quite an obstacle on the European market.

The Sicilian agribusiness expert Salvatore Magliocco pointed out that “this year, we have been facing a tough situation with the Spanish competitor. The European markets were quickly filled with produce sold for an incredibly low price”.

Salvatore Magliocco

The expert explains, “Recently, the Spanish lemon is sold for 80 cents. This is a problem for us, for 80 cents is what producers ask for from us. From this perspective, we cannot compete and we can differentiate ourselves only thanks to quality”

Magliocco continues, “Another crucial aspect is the climatic factor. Heavy rains characterised this fall 2018 thus negatively affecting the produce. We farm an organic produce, and organic are also our remedies against spoiling lemons.

“Some of our producers have started harvesting the Femminello Siracusano 2kr variety. This is an early variety and the quality is similar to the standard Femminello Siracusano, for the former is a clone of the latter”.

The manager states, “The organic segment is growing, especially in Central Europe where its consumption is balancing out with the conventional lemon’s one. In Italy, the demand for organic produce is increasing in the Southern regions too – even though at a slower rhythm compared to Northern regions. Furthermore, Germany seemed very interested in the Demeter certified biodynamic agriculture. With regard to this, we are converting some of our crops thus certifying the citrus fruit orchards of our most representative partners”.

Magliocco claims, “With regard to the marketing, we are solidifying the collaboration with our old partners while at the same time we take on new collaborations with some German and Austrian supermarkets. In my opinion, the Sicilian production should aim at promoting its produce focusing on the communication of the organoleptic qualities of our lemons – which are of top quality – in order to increase the export. We cannot ground our marketing strategy on prices only, because we cannot be competitive enough, in this way. That is why we really appreciate the activities carried out by the Consortium for the Protection of the Siracusa Lemon PGI, which promotes our citrus fruit both in Italy and in Europe through their constant participation in fairs and conferences”.

The agronomist concludes, “Our challenge is to inform our consumers about the excellent quality of our produce. The lemon is natural, organic and non-waxed. We focused on the healthiness of the produce for a long time – that is why it is certified. Overseas, farming practices are definitely different than ours”. 

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