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Italy: Apple commercialisation has started at Lagnasco Group

"The commercialisation of apples has started, quality is high and feedback from the Middle-Eastern market is great," reports Simone Bernardi, President of the Lagnasco Group PO.

Left to right: Fabrizio Garello and Simone Bernardi.

The group has already planned exports to India and the Far East. India has been a regular destination for the past 4 years for the PO, made possible by working on relationships and selecting clients.

In 2016, the production of fruit reached 30 thousand tons with apples (47%), peaches and nectarines (26.5%), kiwis (20%), Angeleno and TC Sun plums (5%) and blueberries (1.5%). 20% is destined to the domestic market (retailers and Cuneo-Turin markets), while 80% is exported. 

Eplì apples
The first commercialisation campaign of the innovative project that involves mainly the Story Inored variety will start in late January 2017. The marketing plan is almost finished and will be made up of various initiatives, including socio-cultural and sports ones, as Eplì wishes to represent a series of socio-ethical values. The produce will be available in retail but also in local markets. 

The packaging will be 100% recyclable but can also be used by children to play.

"Many have shown their interest in this apple. In 2017, 40 thousand new trees will be planted. Considering this is the first campaign ever, 20 hectares have been planted for 100 tons in total. What is good is that we have found a market for all grades, so remuneration will be based on an increased yield per hectare, unlike for club varieties," explains Vice-President Fabrizio Garello.

Eplì has already been presented in Spain and England.

Lagnasco Group is also cooperating with Spain for the commercialisation of ready-to-eat kiwis and with Zespri on Green 14 kiwis.

Varietal selection is very important, and the group invests in partners, testing orchards according to the indications supplied by the AGRION Foundation.

In Saluzzo (CN), the blueberry, plum and kiwi storing and processing facility was improved with the installation of cold treatment and ripening units.

For what concerns its partner, the PO will continue with its orchard cover policy to guarantee the continuity and quality of supplies. At the moment, 95% of the apple orchards are covered with anti-hail nets, though many kiwi orchards have yet to be covered. In addition, the PO is also considering to increase production by acquiring new partners.

Lagnasco warehouse (CN).

Calendar and destinations
The PO's commercial campaign starts with blueberries in June and July. 2016 was excellent and the produce was sent to profitable northern Europe markets such as Great Britain, Scandinavia, Belgium and the Netherlands. On the domestic market, the Group cooperates with Coop, Sant'Orsola.

Then it is the turn of peaches and nectarines, which are sold both on the domestic market and Europe (mainly Germany).

Despite the high quality, the 2016 plum campaign didn't go so well. Usually, the produce is exported to Middle East and Europe, as demand on the domestic market is not as high as that of other fruit.

A few considerations on the market
"Markets close and open very quickly, we should get used to that. The morale of operators continues to be low, but they are starting to understand and adapt to this change. As a PO, we are working on solutions to be able to shift from one market to the other quickly - we are thinking about Libya and Turkey, which are not always available, or about Russia, which is no longer available. The quick search for clients in many different areas of the world has become a priority."

Overproduction is not a problem for Lagnasco Group - "the world is big and, if quality is good, it is possibile to place the produce. Of course varietal selection and commercialisation periods are aspects to which we will have to pay a lot of attention over the next few years."

"We believe we need to provide the quality requested and not absolute quality! We are all willing to find alternative solutions and accept offers that would not have been accepted years ago." 

"For what concerns the markets, it is actually easier to work with retailers now as we have gone from a 'client-supplier logic' to a 'partnership' one, we can therefore make plans and have very clear indications on client needs. Having always put 'dialogue with clients' first, we now know how to handle complicated situations."

"There are no easy or difficult markets, though of course customs make transit and deliveries times longer. Product management has luckily become standard on an international level."

Lagnasco Group

Via Santa Maria 2
12030 Lagnasco (CN)
Tel.: +39 0175 282117
Email: [email protected]
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