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Ortogel Srl

Italian citrus processing industry is facing some difficulties

"Despite a promising start to the citrus fruit campaign, which began with a generous anthesis and a high percentage of set fruits, the combination of adverse weather events, made worse by the management of water resources, generated worry as regards the quality and commercialization of fruits. The high temperatures between May and September and the drought led to drops which, combined with the constant lack of water, compromised grades," reports Salvatore Imbesi, director of Ortogel and Agrumi-Gel.

In the photo, Hideyuki Momose, Koji Kanno and Yukiko Yamadai, manager of Japanese giant Sumitomo Corporation Foods.

"Very small grades are difficult to sell on the traditional market and, in some cases, harvesting them for commercial purposes becomes too expensive, so they are destined to the processing industry. The reduced grades generated a significant increase in harvesting costs, so producers need to face a dual challenge: first of all, the lack of labor is a concrete problem and compromises the promptness and efficiency of the process; secondly, the high harvesting costs do not generate profits, putting the economic sustainability of companies at risk."

"The industry of derivatives is currently facing a crisis linked with the need to process raw material while the availability of fruit has been very low over the past two years and the prices of derivatives in Brazil have skyrocketed. The dependence on international prices - which are established by the main global producers such as Brazil, Argentina and Spain - has historically created difficulties for the Italian citrus fruit processing sector, as it finds it impossible to effectively compete on the global market."

"In such a crisis, it becomes urgent to put in place targeted strategies to reduce our dependence on foreign countries and strengthen our competitiveness. Emulating foreign models and passively endure the fluctuations of international prices is no longer a sustainable option. The acquisition of a better decision-making autonomy could be a solution, especially when it comes to the definition of price policies. Creating a balance between production costs and market prices is essential to guarantee sustainable profit and increased competitiveness. We need to stop using foreign models to determine prices! Price policies should be based on the ratio between costs and earnings. A national brand should be created involving a partnership between processing companies to promote Italian produce. The objective is to make the Italian produce stand out on the international market so as to not be affected by the price policy dictated by Brazil, Argentina and Spain."

"Despite the higher quality, Italian produce suffers due to the limited quantities compared with Brazil. The disparity in volumes led the Italian sector to erroneously follow the price trend imposed by the South American giant. This caused a declassification of blood orange juice, which has always enjoyed a higher added value than blond orange juice. Italy missed a precious occasion this year due to the lack of planning. The delay in the implementation of valuing strategies led to a missed opportunity to promote Italian produce, plan preventive strategies for the management of resources, actively promote the products on the market and set up a register clearly reporting the volumes of Italian productions."

For further information
Ortogel Srl

C.da Balchino Zona Industriale
95039 Caltagirone (CT) (Italy)
+39 0933 1902800
+39 348 8949166

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