Managers at Battistini Vivai report how there seems to be a renewed interest for hazelnuts in Italy. The company produces and commercializes around one and a half million hazelnut trees a year. 70% of the total is of the Tonda di Giffoni variety, while the remaining 30% includes the Tonda Romana, Tonda Gentile delle Langhe, Barcelona, Segorbe, Mortarella and Nocchione varieties.
"Up until last year, most of the interest for this crop came from abroad. From March onward, we have noticed an increase in demand from Italian operators. It does not just depend on the hazelnut project promoted by Ferrero, as it is a trend that also has to do with traditional consumption," explain director Giuliano Dradi and sales manager Sandra Laghi.
Hazelnuts can be grown practically all over Italy, although tests are being carried out to verify which varieties adapt best to the various areas. Some regions added financing to their Regional Development Plans, and others might do the same.
"Testing is essential, even for an ancient crop such as this one. This is why we are working on a research project for the production of grafted hazelnut trees. We have received a few requests, so testing goes on."
There is also another project underway with the University of Perugia comparing micro-propagated and grafted plants. "Because of climate change, it is not easy to understand which varieties are more suitable for each territory. Hazelnut trees have been planted practically anywhere so far, but productivity and quality can be improved identifying the best habitats for each variety," stresses Dradi.
"While abroad there are large plots that can even exceed 100 hectares per company, especially in Eastern European countries, in Italy we need to think about reaching at least 10 hectares. Larger areas can be obtained if nearby companies collaborate."
Battistini Vivai will attend Macfrut Digital: click here for the presentation.