"The interest around Italian productions with certified quality is extremely high, and I was able to see it, for the third time in a few months, during the participation of the PGI Red Orange Consortium of Sicily at the Cultural Festival in Paris," said Gerardo Diana, president of the Consorzio Arancia Rossa di Sicilia, upon his return from the French capital.
Gerardo Diana in Paris
"Whether it's big events or consumer-oriented festivals," Diana explains, "the uniting factor is the trust for certified products. The PDO and PGI system is widely recognized and appreciated by European consumers, and it validates the data that report how certified brands are driving sales in double the amount of similar non-certified products."
"In the face of the PDO and PGI sector overhaul, which should be concluded by the end of the year, I think it is time to express the needs and expectations of our consortium, with some remarks on the outline of the proposed reform.”
"From a commercial point of view, there is no indication on actions that can be taken by the protection consortia in order to prevent the devaluation of PDO and PGI products used by some distribution operators, such as discount stores. It should also be noted that, when it comes to protecting crops from potential plant diseases, the draft lacks any such thing. Appreciation and protection of an agricultural product also means taking care of this aspect with laws and phytosanitary barriers that cannot be done by entrepreneurs."
"In our opinion, there should also be room for a reward system that takes into account the environmental friendliness of agricultural practices and farms. Citrus groves, for example, which are evergreen plants and widespread in our territory, retain carbon and release fresh clean air. Taking them into account when talking about sustainability would be appropriate, as well as measures to strengthen promotional policies for consortia and operational plans for producers' organizations. It is also necessary to take into account that, in addition to organic, other green farming practices exist and should be valued, such as, to name a few, those with low environmental impact or zero-residue supply chains."
On the other hand, sustainability must first and foremost be economically feasible for agricultural entrepreneurs and must represent an opportunity to carry on their work well, without extra bureaucratic encumbrances.
"Finally, we need to carry out a relentless fight against counterfeiting and false evocation of PDO and PGI products. In order to achieve this, we need, above all, an EU political unambiguous commitment. Such cases as that of Croatian Prošek, to mention the most recent blatant example, must never happen again. The reform of PDOs and PGIs, a system that has proven to work very well over the years, is decisive for us Italians. For this reason, PDO - PGI consortia, institutions and European representatives will have to speak unanimously during negotiations, and we will be sure to continue to contribute with our ideas," concluded Gerardo Diana.
For more information:
Consorzio di Tutela
Arancia Rossa di Sicilia IGP
Via San Giuseppe la Rena 30/B
95121 Catania (CT)
Sede operativa: Via Passo del Fico S.P. 70/I C/da Jungetto,
C/o MAAS Corpo B Catania
+39 095 507681