Italy imports around €100 million a year worth of chestnuts. Considering the type of soil and the predisposition towards this kind of product, increasing the domestic production is possible. What is more, it would boost the income of producers and safeguard hill and mountain areas that would otherwise be abandoned.
This is what FreshPlaza discussed with expert Luciano Trentini (in the photo) during the technical-scientific day dedicated to chestnuts held in Bologna.
"A third of the production potential is in Campania, i.e. 32% of the total. It is followed by Calabria with 18% Lazio with 14%, Piedmont with 12%, Tuscany with 11% and Emilia Romagna with 3%. In 2018, the Italian production potential hovered around 30 thousand tons."
Trentini talked about some of the ways domestic chestnut production could be relaunched. "First of all, we need to promote marrons and make consumers understand the difference between marrons and chestnuts. Marrons of Italian origin have unique qualities and characteristics, they aren't just 'bigger chestnuts' like the tasteless ones often imported from abroad."
In addition, Pdo and Pgi products also need to be promoted more and more land needs to be dedicated to their production. Old chestnut groves should be recovered with this purpose in mind.
"We need to recover the often-abandoned chestnut groves to increase business sizes. We need to guarantee continuity also to those who are not producers but who safeguard the territory and earn some income from selling fresh or processed chestnuts and marrons."