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Rocca Imperiale Lemon

"In less than 2.5 years, we've launched our own brand Limoré and designed different types of packaging"

Until a few years ago, it was difficult to find the Rocca Imperiale lemon with Protected Geographical Indication in the Italian supermarkets. Today, this fruit, which is known for its high juice content and the intense aroma of its edible peel, is on the shelves in dozens of Italian chains, as well as in many European and other countries.

It is to thanks to a group of growers who founded a cooperative in late 2019, the Association of Rocca Imperiale Lemon Growers, to face the challenges of not having an organization to promote their crop harvest. Success was not long in coming. Despite the outbreak of the pandemic, they quickly succeeded in giving this lemon an identity and a high commercial value.

Some members of the cooperative. From left to right: Oriolo Dario, Latronico Caterina, Arcuri Natalina, Buongiorno Pietro, Francesco Pace

"In less than two and a half years, we have structured our company with GlobalGAP and GRASP certifications, launched our own brand Limoré, designed different types of packaging, outlined a cultivation method with as few plant protection products as possible, and created a marketing structure with sales in Italy and exports to the other European countries and the United Arab Emirates," said Pietro Buongiorno, president of the growers' association.

"Currently we have over 90 hectares of cultivation and 15 member companies, most of which are run by women and/or young people. Those numbers will double next season thanks to the cooperation with the growers’ association OP Joinfruit from Piedmont. Our lemons are marketed in Italian and foreign supermarket chains from December to June. About 60% are exported to Germany, England, France and Switzerland. Only 2% are traded through wholesale markets. A QR code is placed on each package that provides information about the day of harvest and the grower. We do this because we are aware of the importance of traceability, both for our customers and for consumers."

"Our entrepreneurial project starts from the bottom up. Our goal is to aggregate the production sector first. To do so, producers must unite. Only then is there a solid basis for successful marketing. The member growers enjoy advice and follow-up in all cultivation phases through specially trained employees. They only have to pay a small amount for this as a membership fee. The association also arranges sales at markets and transport. In a short time, we have succeeded in stopping the negative trend that was taking place, with the foreign traders buying up the harvest yields of entire lemon orchards and then selling them under a different name. Much work remains to be done, but we feel satisfied that we have finally given the Rocca Imperiale lemon its identity back," concluded Buongiorno.

For more information:
Produttori di Limoni Associati di Rocca Imperiale - Soc. Agricola

Via Vibo Valentia, 26
87074 Rocca Imperiale (CS) - Italy
(+39) 349 4694903 / +39 320 3819847

O.P. Joinfruit Società Consortile a.r.l.
Via al Castello 13
12039 Verzuolo (CN)
(+39) 0175 230807

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