"The Sicilian citrus season 2021/2022 will once again suffer from the climatic disasters that have ravaged the cities and agricultural lands in recent days."
"On behalf of Coa Srl, we join the grief of the victims' families. We also consider it appropriate that, following the tragedy that has struck our community, the institutions should present a united front to protect the economy of our territory. For our part, we are confident that despite the adverse weather conditions we will be able to market citrus fruits of decent quality," said Rocco Lardaruccio, director of Sicilian Coa.
The company is based in Scordia, where it was founded in 1979. It is engaged in the marketing and packaging of fruit and vegetables. The company covers an area of about 12,000 m², with a 5,000 m² warehouse, where more than 150 seasonal workers are employed.
The area is divided as follows: more than 450 hectares of citrus orchards and about 30 hectares of peach, apricot, prickly pear and melon trees. The company has a capacity of more than 100 tons of packed crops per day, which are marketed both in Italy and abroad.
"At Coa, we also market oranges, but our flagship product remains the blood orange, due to its superior nutritional properties. This season, there will be less supply, but interest remains high. That is why we are trying to cope with this problem by buying more orchards in areas with a predominant protected geographical indication."
The company is constantly innovating in terms of varieties. Information and communication must be accelerated, and it is therefore important to emphasize the added value of the blood orange. "We have been working for some time on the development of other pigmented hybrid citrus, such as the Mandared or Tacle. To stay in the market with a broad commercial calendar, it is essential to invest in more resistant crops, from citrus orchards that are replanted to safeguard them from the risk of Citrus Tristeza Virus (CTV), which is responsible for the death of hundreds of millions of plants worldwide," said Rocco Lardaruccio.
"When it comes to sustainable policies, we are making great strides. In the past, plastic was a good solution. As an alternative, there are materials on the market that are made of cellulose or from renewable material. However, we have yet to find the perfect material to replace plastic in terms of cost effectiveness, handleability and availability. What sustainability is really about is the recycling of plastics, as they are largely recoverable if they undergo appropriate processes."
The coming season will see labor shortages, increased costs of plastics, packaging, and energy costs. "In the last few months, we have seen rises in the prices of paper, fuel, plastic, iron, aluminium and especially electricity and gas rates, which has a significant impact on the costs and therefore on the product that ends up on the shelf. We hope that the government will take targeted measures to reduce costs and guarantee consumers a quality product at the right price. With regard to the field of promotional activities, we will be present at the most important trade fairs. The Milan Exhibition Centre, where Tuttofood was recently held, could become an important milestone for Italy in the promotion of our fruit and vegetable production," concluded Lardaruccio.