"I usually supply Angeleno plums until Christmas but, this year, the socio-economic and geopolitical crisis has forced me to review planning and not prolong the commercial calendar. The reason is the bill increases. I prefer to sell off now and end the 2022 season before the financial stability of my company is considerably compromised," explains Antonio Gallicchio, an intermediary from Matera.
The increase in the cost of electricity, which has tripled in less than a year, is making life difficult for companies that already have to face lower demand. Those who store and package fruits and vegetables are forced to use cold storage units but, considering the current tariffs, they often prefer to keep the systems off.
"It has become prohibitive to store the fruit in units. My cold storage unit is on 24-7 and costs around €200 a day. The energy bills that used to be around €3,000 now exceed €8,000. Companies will never make up their costs like this."
Considering all the other increases, many businesses risk closing. "There is a lot of uncertainty about the future, especially at these sad times. I prefer to sell off and loose €0.10-0.15/kg now rather than loose much more money later only because I'll have to pay the electricity bills."
Angeleno plum pallets in a cold storage unit
"Orders remain low, while we thought things would improve in September. I have sold only 20% of the plums harvested so far, as demand is much lower than in 2021. Only fruits with excellent grades seem to travel at normal speed."
"This lack of enthusiasm has been going on for months, so much so that I decided to purchase only 30% of the plum trees I was offered compared to the previous season. It is better not to deceive producers with quotations and possible sales."