"The Sicilian table grape season ended a couple of months ago, but the last of the Crimson and Apulia varieties are still on sale. To say that this year was hard would be an euphemism," reports Marsello Lo Sardo from GB Italia in Canicattì, a region famous for its PGI table grapes.
Above: Marsello Lo Sardo with a crate of Apulia grapes. Photo taken on 13/01/2020.
"We finished harvesting the Crimson variety in early November and the Apulia variety in late November. The Crimson sales campaign ended over the past few days (with the produce in cold storage units), while the Apulia campaign will end in early February. Of course quantities are low, but we need to understand it is mid-January after all. Crimson maintained a producer price of €1.00-1.20/kg for the entire period despite the fact that the color was not perfect. Apulia sold at the same price."
"Although we have managed to work, we were indeed affected by the crisis! I am talking about the more common varieties such as the Italia grapes. After the crisis due to cracking in 2018, 2019 was just as bad. In addition, the situation was managed badly by the institutions, which preferred to focus on purported refunds rather than solving structural problems. They need to actually do something and stop making promises."
Italia grapes (archive photo)
"Infrastructural conditions in Sicily remain the same. Logistics, i.e. transport, adds 16 eurocents per kg between Canicattì and Milan and 20 eurocents per kg between Canicattì and Rungis. It is basically like paying a duty! Costs are higher not only because of the geographical distance, but also due to the conditions of the road network. While Europe is talking about fast trains and intermodal freight transport, the railway network over here has not evolved since the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. It is mortifying for our companies."
Left to right: Diego Lo Sardo, Tonino Muratore and Marsello Lo Sardo.
"We would like politics to provide better tools to promote our products on an international level. We would like there to be more chances to talk to our European and extra-European clients directly in their language. We would like there to be more occasions to talk to our foreign colleagues to share our experience and opinions."
Gb Italia is a leading producer and trader not only of prestigious table grapes, but also of apricots, peaches and seasonal nectarines.