"Understanding market requests and anticipating competitors guarantees regular sales and the margin necessary to keep the company running. Having said this, the difficulties the fresh produce sector is going through are affecting us as well. Costs keep increasing, for example. Luckily, 2022 was a good year," explains Giuseppe Galluccio, founder and sales manager at Gruppo La California, which operates within Centro agroalimentare di Napoli-CAAN.
Milena and Giuseppe Galluccio, financial manager and founder/sales manager at Gruppo La California. (Photo by: ©GruppoLaCalifornia)
The group specializes in citrus fruit and oranges in particular. "Over the past 5 years, we invested a lot in the production of Tarocco oranges in Sicily: results are satisfactory when it comes to both the quality of the fruits and the sales price. We feel we have an edge over the others because, in addition to commercializing oranges, we produce them."
"The oversea orange campaign was excellent, which helped our financial results a lot in 2022. The Christmas period was rather normal, with no peaks."
"We cannot improvise our job: we manage to read and anticipate commercial dynamics, trying to overcome the difficulties linked with the costs and creating opportunities. In November and December, for example, we knew the market would lack zucchini and oranges. We got the former from our crops in Peru and Senegal. We could have started harvesting operations last week in Peru, but we did not manage it due to the unrest in the country. We should be able to start loading this week. We risked a lot, but one must stay strong in the face of adversity. When it comes to oranges, we are about to start the Egyptian campaign."
New projects: a training academy and a new warehouse
It is not easy to set up a company team nowadays. This is why Gruppo La California has started a new training project: a sort of internal academy for students coming out of agricultural school. "An occasion for them to get to know the commercial, logistic and productive side of things. We have been working on this project for the past 7-8 months. We are also building a warehouse in Capua (Caserta) in collaboration with Catone Logistica to keep costs down and serve our clients even better."
According to Galluccio, collaborating with specialists helps highlight what one can do well. "In our case, the production, import and distribution of fresh produce."
Project on a new green kiwifruit variety
"The project continues in Campania and celebrated its second anniversary last August. We are collaborating with the Giotto cooperative and we are very pleased with the rootstock on which we are developing the new varieties, as the roots are vigorous so we are not as worried about vine decline, a disease that has been hitting orchards in Lazio hard. I believe that, over the next couple of years, we will extend the current 15 hectares to become 50."
Gruppo La California will attend Fruit Logistica 2023 (Berlin, 8-10 February): Halle 2.2, Stand B-10.
For further information: www.gruppolacalifornia.com