Salvi, "It is necessary to invest on the competitveness of the enterprises".

Fruitimprese, exports in 2020 will close with a plus sign in value and a minus sign in quantity

The year 2020 will close with a plus sign for the value of exported fruit and vegetables, but with a minus sign in terms of quantity. Marco Salvi, national President of Fruitimprese, commented on the the third quarter of this year.

 

"The trend of the first 9 months of exports ( +7% in terms of value, -3.6% in terms of quantity as of September) is still paying for the shortage of supply in 2019, which also affected sales in the first half of 2020. As for imports, quantities are stable, we are growing in terms of value, meaning that the trade balance is constantly decreasing year by year. A trend that can be reversed only by working on the competitiveness of the country and our companies with structural interventions. We are leaders in growing high-end products and club varieties (apples, grapes, etc.) but we also need to promote standard products, because the market is moving to other countries for a matter of costs". 

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"Labor, transport, energy, are more expensive than those of our competitors," continued Salvi (in the photo on the right). "We need to encourage and support companies to expand their commercial horizons, open new markets, and be more efficient and effective in signing bilateral agreements. I have been repeating this message for 9 years, ever since I became President. We have not yet done enough on the internationalization front, we are too slow. The others are faster in occupying new markets. We always have to catch up and in this chase we lose time and our fruit farming loses many producers and many hectares along the way".

A very difficult year is drawing to a close, during which our sector has guaranteed the production and distribution of products that are fundamental for the health and wellbeing. "Our producers, since the very first moments of the crisis, have done their best to guarantee the population a continuous supply of fresh produce as well as an income for the families of their employees, which unfortunately has been lacking in other sectors. Unfortunately, this effort, and the related costs, have not found any mention in government measures. the entrepreneurs of the fruit and vegetable sector have benefited from almost irrelevant aid, from the omission of the tax reduction, to the mockery of the tax credit for the sanitization expenses and the purchase of protection devices (reduced from the announced 60% to 28% of the costs incurred)".

Among the challenges of 2021, Salvi foresees challenges linked to the Brexit negotiations. "We hope that with Biden the United States will cease the pursuit of duties and retaliation against Europe".

The Budget Law postponed to 1 July 2021 the effective date of the plastic tax. "We hope that this tax will be cancelled. It is an unsustainable increase in production costs for the sector, without which, there will no longer be ensured freshness and shelf life." 

As for the future, we are also looking forward to the Farm to Fork Strategy, a strategy linked to the Green Deal, by which the European Union aims to ensure that the current food system is more sustainable, fair and respectful of human health and the environment

"I want to clear up suspicions and possible misunderstandings on the part of the fruit and vegetable sector, which is ready to take up the challenge. For several years now, they have been at the forefront in reducing the use of chemical substances, preferring alternative methods such as integrated pest management. Our companies are willing to play a leading role in this green revolution, as long as they are equipped with the necessary crop protection tools, which are essential for a sector exposed to growing climatic instability, recurrent plant diseases and invasions of alien species. We are in agreement with the requests of the central cooperatives of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland to the EU Commission and the European Parliament. The economic sustainability of the F2F objectives must also be taken into account. Observing higher environmental standards means incurring higher costs, which could make European production less competitive compared to other countries that do not respect the same standards".

We need to understand what will happen, we cannot lose further production shares by not opening Europe and Italy's borders to imports, which would jeopardize our food self-sufficiency and our leadership in important productions of excellence such as apples, pears, kiwis, grapes, vegetables.

"We have been asking the government to provide our companies with more competitive conditions to face the global market challenges. We have cut and disinvested in health care and we have seen the results. Fruit and vegetables are a strategic production for the quality of Italian products, and we need more attention and targeted policies to create the right conditions for a new phase of growth and development. If there is a supervisory body for wine exports, there must also be one for fruit and vegetables, which is the second largest sector representing our exports in the agro-food industry. The National Board of fruit and vegetables must be the venue for the relaunch of the country. The productive sector is prepared to do its part".


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