The Apulian cherry campaign will end in a few days' time and has been characterized by yields above average, low prices and daily protests.
"The harvesting of the Ferrovia variety should end next weekend, although cherry sales will continue until early July thanks to late cultivars such as Sweetheart and Staccato. Orders are coming in and it is easy to place the produce on the market, the real problem are the low margins. We are affected by foreign competition not so much when it comes to supplies, but rather on the price front," reports Nicola Giuliano, owner of Giuliano Puglia Fruit.
"This year, precisely due to the abundant quantities and high percentage of small grades, sales prices had to be reduced in order to prevail over Turkey, Greece and Spain. Apulian cherries were preferred only at the same quotations. However, this situation should be discouraged, as it does not repay the sacrifices and hard work our producers put into obtaining such high quality fruits."
"Only 30% of the fruit reaches grades above 26 mm and, in most cases, it has already been harvested. At the moment, producer prices hover between €1.00-1.50/kg for grades up to 26 mm. Nonetheless, there is something positive about the current campaign: exports increased from 20 to 40% as, thanks to the more competitive prices, we managed to penetrate markets that, up until now, were dominated by other producers. We increased the sales volumes destined mainly to Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland."
"In the last period, we have been harvesting a little less than 100 tons a day of Ferrovia cherries, with only a few quantities destined to the processing industry. New high-tech machinery scans each batch, so we can discard those fruits with internal and external defects that are not very visible to the human eye. Despite the low quantities, this procedure makes sure foreign clients receive an excellent product from all points of view."