"Producers of San Cono prickly pears have high expectations for the start of the 2020 campaign. Fruits benefited from the abundant rain and drop in temperatures of the past few days, so much so that quality, texture and grades appear excellent. 2019 did not go as well because of the weather (high temperatures and lack of rain) and due to overproduction," reports Francesco Grassenio, president of OP Ficodindia di San Cono.
With its 35 members, OP Ficodindia di San Cono (CT) processes fruit from 400 hectares. The PO was established in 2014 and it is the only one specializing in the production and processing of prickly pears on an area that produces 60% of what is grown on the island. Once harvested, the fruit is processed and packaged with eco-friendly methods and in compliance with the strictest Italian and European standards (GlobalGAP, GRASP and UNI-EN ISO 22005).
Harvesting operations of Fioroni prickly pears will start in early August, with volumes that will increase until early September, when the campaign will enter its peak. With the way things are going, it looks like the campaign will continue until December.
"The fruit obtained from the second blossoming - commonly known as Bastardoni - seem lower than last year. However, ripening should be staggered so prices should not drop."
Demand is increasing, a sign that prickly pears are appreciated by consumers.
"Consumption is on the up, thanks to both the nutritional and organoleptic quality of the fruit and to the ethical aspects of the product. Prickly pears are delicious and are also rich in minerals and vitamins. Plus, unlike many other fruits, they do not need particular chemical treatments."
"We are hoping that 2020 will be particularly important for our partners. We have grown constantly over the years, a sigh that we employed suitable commercial strategies. We believe a unified vision is key to tackling the market. In a sector such as the agricultural one, characterized by fragmented supply - there cannot be evolution without unity."
In addition to the domestic market, other markets of reference for Op San Cono are Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium (big retail chains and wholesale markets).