"In terms of productivity, the grape campaign is proceeding quite well and, although the excessive heat has caused delays in ripening, we have a vast supply of high-quality grapes, with well-formed berries that are delicious and organoleptically perfect (19 degrees Brix)," said Rocco Patrì, president of the Sicilian producers' organization OP EcoFarm.
"We have been harvesting grapes of excellent quality for a week now to supply the Italian and French supermarkets, which are our main markets. It's been a while now that we've been trying to extend our sales channels, entering into partnerships in the UK and Germany, and with small quotas also in Northern European countries."
The producers' organization OP EcoFarm produces and exports several grape varieties (including Italian grapes, red varieties and seedless grapes) of high quality according to food safety rules and the highest environmental production standards.
"The hard work of our growers aims first and foremost to provide Italian and foreign consumers with good and healthy food by offering good grapes. On the one hand, the safety of our crops is constantly being ensured, but on the other, the market is not providing an adequate reward for the efforts of our growers. We are in a difficult situation due to the price crisis and the increase in production costs, which currently fluctuate between €0.80 and €0.90 per kilo. The sector is under pressure due to cost increases in packaging, electricity, diesel, container freight, extra bank charges, insurance and taxes. Everything is going up, except the prices the growers receive. More consideration must be given to the fact that the horticultural sector is one of the most important sectors of the Italian economy."
"EcoFarm has so far offered high quality crops and this is due to the investments made in recent years. Of course, we will continue to invest in quality and safety and look for markets that will more highly value our crops, but there must be a fair balance for those who make sacrifices and risk their capital. If we look at foreign competition, it is never easy, especially for red and seedless grapes, which are grown with social, labor and phytosanitary standards that differ from ours. For the Italia grapes, we only see healthy and fair competition from Apulia," concluded Patrì.