"The Coronavirus crisis is unfortunately having a significant impact on companies in the fruit and vegetable sector. As a consequence, decisions and communications provided by national and regional authorities are creating a climate of uncertainty and fear in our country, but also among operators in other countries who benefit from Italian products". The Coronavirus alert for Italian fruit and vegetables was issued by Fruitimprese, the association that unites exporters and importers.
"We understand the need for public health protection aimed at limiting contagion," said President Marco Salvi, "but we need more coordination on the part of the authorities and messages that reflect the problem in the right sphere and clarify the real extent of the phenomenon, as we think is happening in the rest of Europe.”
Salvi, president of Fruitimprese
The most dramatic consequences for the sector concern three areas:
Export and international trade
European large-scale retail chains are seeking guaranties, especially from an institutional standpoint, that Italian products are safe and controlled, as they do not trust what their commercial interlocutors. The danger is that they may turn to other food-producing countries, with the risk of permanently losing our market share.
Transport and logistics
The conduct by the competent authorities of our confining countries is creating extreme insecurity. Because of Italy's morphology it is not possible to arrange shipments without the certainty that the product and those who transport it can cross the borders to be delivered. We therefore need strong diplomatic pressure so that Italy does not remain isolated from the rest of Europe.
Workforce and work organization
We are currently witnessing the resignation of a large number of foreign agricultural workers, mainly from Romania, who are returning to their country of origin fearing that they will soon no longer be allowed to do so because of the public health regulations.
Furthermore, we need to define health protocols that will allow companies to carry out their activities on a regular basis, once the danger of contagion no longer applies.
"It is crucial for our entire economic fabric that the competent authorities define a communication strategy aimed at clarifying that what is really happening in our country is the result of a thorough monitoring activity aimed at containing the problem within known cases and outbreaks discovered so far and that Italian products are safe and cannot be a vehicle for the propagation of the virus," concluded Salvi.