Italy: 27th National Peach Convention

2014 will probably be remembered as an awful year for Italian peaches: low consumption, prices that did not even cover production costs, Russian ban and competition from Spain. This is the situation in which the 27th National Peach Convention opened.

A moment during the opening day of the 27th National Peach Conference.

The first day's morning session was dedicated to the evolution of the Italian and European production, production costs and Italian competitiveness. Elisa Macchi, director of the Cso - Centro Servizi Ortofrutticoli, talked about various aspects of the sector. There was a drop in production in Northern and Central Italy as cultivated areas are decreasing but the South is doing well.

Peach and nectarine production in Italy: cultivated areas are changing (CSO processing of Istat data).

Then there is Spain, which almost doubled its production since 2000, especially in the North - if Navarra and Catalonia once grew 40% of the national production, now they grow 70%. In addition, the country also invested a lot on Saturn peaches - since 2010, the production of this variety grew by 290%.

Other European players such as France and Greece are also experiencing a drop in production.

The volume trend of the main European producers (CSO processing of Europech data).

Giancarlo Minguzzi, chairman of Fruitimprese Emilia-Romagna, explained that, in the Italian system, there are "inefficiencies that we cannot make producers pay for". In such a year of low profits, he said 15 cents per kg would be enough to guarantee an additional €3-4,000 per hectare for growers.

The main solutions discussed were integration and communication.
Integration because the Italian productive system is too fragmented and therefore not competitive enough. Communication because Italy produces great peaches and nectarines, but consumers cannot distinguish them from the imported ones.

The audience at the convention.

Paolo De Castro, member of the EU parliament, closed the day by stressing that "we can be great peach producers, but it is useless if we are not able to explain it to consumers."

During the afternoon, innovations in the production and storage sections were presented - from varietal renovation to innovations to reduce environmental impacts and keep brown rot and sharka under control.

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