"We are investing in new crops - both traditional green Hayward kiwifruit and new golden and red-flesh varieties. We are doing so by supporting all our partners from both a technical and financial point of view. Over the next three years, there will be new hectares at Azienda Agricola Catenaro Italo and OP Rimfruit members," reports Italo Catenaro, sales manager of Catenaro Srl and president of Op Rimfruit.
The producer organization is located in Abruzzo in San Vito Chietino (Chieti), a strategic position just off highway A14.
It has been operating since 1952 in the production and commercialization of fresh produce and specializes in kiwifruit, nectarines, peaches, plums and apricots.
"Abruzzo is not important when it comes to national statistics analyzing kiwifruit production, but we believed in it and made the first investments already 15 years ago. Today we are very pleased of having given local producers an alternative, as they used to only focus on grapes to make wine. There are currently 150 hectares of kiwifruit orchards in Abruzzo, 80% of which under our group. In addition, we also have peach and nectarine orchards in Val di Sangro, Ortona and San Vito Chietino. What is more, we even have partners in Lazio, Calabria and Puglia."
The green kiwifruit campaign is still in full swing, though a 30% drop in volume has been registered. Demand and prices were good in November and December 2019, though January 2020 started with slow demand and dropping prices.
"The situation is rather slow. We believe it is because of the fact that the Greek produce sold at lower prices as Greece needs to get rid of the last stocks to avoid shelf-life problems."
"We are rather optimistic about March, April and May 2020 though, as the qualities and shelf-life of our produce will prevail. The professionalism and skill of Italian companies always repay us."
"We should not fear Greece and Turkey that much. A colleague from a well-known company in Emilia-Romagna far larger than ours told me that, in the future, Greece must become a further opportunity for Italy, not a menace."
In addition to investing in kiwifruit, Rimfruit-Catenaro continues to focus on early peaches and nectarines too and is experimenting with early varieties to be harvested starting on May 10th. The main destination markets are: England, Germany, France and Italian retail chain.
50% of kiwifruits are exported overseas by ship to Asia, South America, the US and Canada. The other 50% is shipped to the European markets and European and Italian retail chain.
"Over the past year, we have extended our storage and packaging facility in Sant'Apollinare Chietino. We are finishing a new warehouse with 5 new cold-storage units covering 7500 cubic meters in total as well as new innovative loading ramps. This is to meet the need to ship containers to countries like China and Taiwan. The facility covers 2,000 sq m with 3,000 sq m of outside space."