Alba Bio reports that the lack of labor is dramatic

The fresh produce world is going through a difficult period. Its worst enemies have been the pandemic and energy crisis, but the heat and drought are just as bad.

FreshPlaza talked about it with Vittorio Gona, administrator of the Alba Bio PO.

Vittorio Gona

"The situation is rather bad, as problems such as the lack of labor and increase in energy costs and technical means keep remaining unsolved. Plus everything is made worse by the drought. Companies are trying to optimize renewable resources and make production techniques more efficient to save on energy costs as much as possible. The lack of labor is causing huge damage to many businesses, which are incapable of even harvesting the produce."

"In a country such as Italy, which aims at combating unemployment, it is unthinkable for agricultural work be be based on single days aimed not at working the whole season but rather at obtaining unemployment benefits, which is actually essential for agricultural operators who work only part of the year. Not even the citizenship income drives people to work in the fields as, though the idea behind it was right, it needs reviewing. Although we share the principles behind these two measures, we would like the authorities to safeguard those who really need them."

"We are disappointed by the fact that we have been abandoned by those who promised they would find a solution. However, I still believe politics, the unions and our category associations could find the right balance to offer solutions to a sector in crisis."

"In the next campaign, we will witness fewer volumes, especially when it comes to tomatoes, and probably to a consistent decrease in sales margins."

"Nonetheless, the final results for the 2021/22 campaign at OP Alba Bio will see a 5% increase in the produced volumes and a 6% increase in turnover. We were used to much different volumes and margins, but it is clear it could not have been otherwise. After all, forecasts are less than encouraging if the conflict in Ukraine won't stop."

Gona also provided an overview of the prices of organic products commercialized by the company: cherry tomatoes  €1.70 kg, plum tomatoes €2.00/kg, round smooth tomatoes €1.40/kg, oblong tomatoes €1.20/kg, zucchini €1.30/kg, red onions €0.80/kg, white onions €1.10/kg, golden onions €1.10/kg, yellow peppers €1.60/kg, red bell peppers €1.70/kg, green bell peppers €1.40 al kg. Prices refer to July 21st 2022. 

For further information:
Vittorio Gona
O.P. Coop. Alba Bio
Cda Ferranta, SN
97010 Marina di Ragusa (RG) - Italy
+39 0932 239003

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