"This summer we had predicted (see FreshPlaza of 26/07/2019) a drastic reduction in citrus production for the region of Sardinia. Now that the harvest has begun, we are aware of the actual percentages", explained Orazio Casalino, a Sardinian agronomist, who added: " There has been a significant diminution especially for clementines, both early and tardive. The early varieties most affected are most definitely Caffin and Corsica 2, while for later varieties, it is the mandarin-like Mandalate. We can calculate a decrease of -60% compared to previous years, based on a regional average over the last 4-5 years".
"On the other hand, the percentages for the orange production ranges between -20 and -30%. Generally speaking, almost all the areas of the island have suffered a reduction in citrus fruit production, with similar percentages also in the most favorable areas. In recent months, we have managed to convert the lack of this product into an increase in quality, with regards to size and taste. This year, Sardinian citrus fruits are excellent and the crops have not been affected by plant diseases. Those producers who have decided to monitor nutrition and protection can count on a few more percentages of the product".
"The prices are still quite interesting, although they dropped by 0.20/0.30 €/kg last week. The introduction of Calabrian and Apulian products into Sardinia has led to a further drop of 0.15/0.20 €/kg in these very last few days. For the moment, this situation does not seem to worry local producers precisely because, given the small difference in price, consumers prefer local fruits harvested the day before and not those arriving on pallets after 3-4 days from harvesting. In fact, non-Sardinian products have a distinctive freshness and flavour, but above all, a very reduced shelf-life. Given the quality of the production, we hope to be able to recover this lack of volume by slightly increasing prices more than usual.
"The island has its pros and cons. About 90% of Sardinian citrus fruit production is sold in Sardinia itself. If there are costs incurred for Sardinian companies to export to Italy, and the rest of Europe, this also means that the same transportation costs are true for all the other companies that want to reach the island with their products".
Agronomist Orazio Casalino
Tel.: (+39) 333/1665957