"The first blood oranges were launched on the market a few weeks ago. The prices are very good and there is a lot of demand for the oranges. From 8 December onwards the citrus season will be in full swing and there will be larger quantities and more medium-sized citrus. Many (new) foreign customers have already placed orders well in advance. Our reference market is Northern Europe and that accounts for 70% of the turnover," said Lino Catena (photo), chairman of the producer organisation PO Esperidio.
Esperidio is a Sicilian cooperative engaged in the cultivation and marketing of citrus fruit on domestic and foreign markets. It originated in the union of 70 operators from the sector and was founded in 2015, however, it had already been operating in another corporate form since the 1970s.
Both early and late varieties of citrus fruit are grown on 1100 hectares. Esperidio is strategically located at the foot of Mount Etna, an area where red oranges grow well. Think of the Tarocco, Moro and Sanguinello, all recognized and certified under PGI Protected Geographical Indication.
The PO is a leader in the cultivation and marketing of a wide range of citrus fruits including Tarocco, Moro and Navel, red Tarocco blood oranges, seedless lemons and various hybrids such as Tacle and Mandared. In a market that requires increasingly optimal and competitive quality, the PO is able to offer a premium product guaranteed and certified GlobalGAP for oranges, lemons and mandarins. The Sicilian blood orange has GRASP, IFS, BRS and BGA certificates and since 2019 it also holds an organic certificate.
One of the novelties of the current commercial campaign is the implementation of a sustainable food supply chain. A commitment that the company OP Esperidio has undertaken in recent years and that has finally seen its full realization in 2020. The company has set itself extraordinary goals, involving research and development and innovation in a environmentally friendly direction.
"We strongly feel that the approach to sustainability is one of the cornerstones of corporate ethics," explained Martina Campisi, marketing and communication manager. The aim is to ensure that the needs of current generations are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
The company not only implemented the SAI Platform Sustainable Agriculture, but also obtained the FSA approval. The SAI Platform is one of the main global initiatives in the food and beverage supply chain for sustainable agriculture. FSA (Farm Sustainability Assessment) is a global approach to farm sustainability built around a free set of simple steps that standardize the assessment of the farm and its agricultural products.
"Our commitment to corporate social responsibility is wide-ranging," said Martina Pia Campisi. We are focused on the reduction of CO2 emissions, the creation of new lines of ecological products and packaging that respect the environment, the reuse of materials and the saving of energy and resources, giving priority to renewable energy sources by upgrading photovoltaic systems to ensure a synergicistic harmony between person, planet, and profit."
"What we also value is the improvement of biodiversity and the use of officially registered plant protection products. Of course, we are working towards certified waste disposal and plastic-free packaging. As part of this, we have developed new, attractively eco-friendly packaging with a low plastic content, which means a 70% reduction in plastic. We use FCS (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper produced in accordance with strict environmental and economic standards," concluded Lino Catena.