A dated facility that does not meet the needs of an important economic sector looking for innovation - this is what emerges from an analysis of the Vittoria fresh produce market.

Giorgio Puccia, President of the Associazione Concessionari del Mercato di Vittoria, has been working there as a dealer/agent since 1985.

FreshPlaza (FP) - President Puccia, what are the market's figures?
"The market generates an annual turnover of around €300 million. There are 68 boxes out of a total of 74, eight of which are closed for reassignment."

FP - How many people operate in the market?
"With an average of three partners and 5 employees, we can say around 550 people. If we add those whose work is not directly related with fresh produce sales, e.g. bartenders, then the figure is higher. But what really makes the difference are downstream activities - thousands of people who work in packaging, transport and sawmills, not to mention everything that gravitates around those activities as well. I can say that, up to 5-6 years ago, the market was a source of income for most of the Ragusa province."

Unfortunately things have changed with the crisis of 2008. The productive sector was strongly affected and many companies were hit pretty badly. We must also add the fact that the market stopped being up to date with the times a few decades ago. The past Administration did introduce a daily price list, stricter checks on incoming produce and started to build a terminal nearby, but there is still a lot to be done.

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FP - What is the market missing to be up to date and to meet the needs of such an important sector? 
"From a structural point of view, we need logistics. We need a platform to arrange and process goods. We do not have an packaging centre and therefore we do not have cold-storage units and suitable processing and sorting areas."

It therefore seems nothing has changed much from what the market was like in the 1980s. At the time, negotiations were carried out with the goods still loaded on small trucks or Ape vans.

The Vittoria market: yesterday (above, photo taken when it was still located in Via XX Settembre) and today (below, the current facility in Contrada Fanello).

Author: G.P. for FreshPlaza