Now that the Sicilian table grape campaign is practically over, the time has come to make an assessment. FreshPlaza contacted the president of Consorzio di tutela dell'uva di Mazzarrone IGP Gianni Raniolo to talk about it.
"The consortium now gathers 140 partners covering around 12,000 hectares in the Catania and Ragusa provinces and in Caltagirone, Licodia Eubea, Mazzarrone, Chiaramonte Gulfi, Comiso and Acate. Over the past few years, overseas destinations have grown a lot. Current destinations include: Italy (15%), Switzerland (15%), France (10%), Belgium (10%), Germany (20%), United Kingdom (10%), the Netherlands (5%), Scandinavia (5%) Eastern European countries (5%) and the Middle East (5%) with Arab Emirates and Qatar".
After the crisis caused by cracking in 2018, 2019 was also a difficult year, this time from a commercial point of view.
"While it is only fair to express an opinion about political institutions, we must keep in mind it is not politics that rules the commercialization of fresh produce. In some moments, prices dropped to €0.30-0.40, which is truly mortifying."
The consortium has been working very well in the past few years with good marketing and communication campaigns on both a national and international level.
"We need to remain focused on our objectives, which can only be reached if we have a strategy. There is no room for approximation. This is why we have an international marketing campaign. We have recently carried out a promotional mission to the UAE which turned out extremely positively."
If, one the one hand, fresh produce companies do all they can to reach the domestic markets (considering international markets can be reached by air or sea as well), they do need to deal with their geographic position and an obsolete road network.
"The infrastructural conditions in Sicily are a burden for all local companies, as they affect costs by 10-15 eurocents per kg. While the north of the country is talking about high-speed trains, the railway network over here is so outdated it seems we are still in Bourbon times. This and other factors constitute concrete obstacles for our companies. It is hard to work in such conditions and politics should indeed get involved when it comes to this, because we cannot build our own roads."
Consorzio di Tutela dell'Uva da Tavola di Mazzarrone Igp
Tel.: +39 335 1033575