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Uncertain market for the Sicilian citrus fruit sector

OP Agrisicilia focuses on the citrus fruit sector, although there are a few elements that are blocking its growth, such as the CTV-Citrus Tristeza Virus, the abandoning of groves, fragmentation and competition with other countries that is driving prices down.

Agronomist Salvatore Battiato, technical manager for OP Agrisicilia, told FreshPlaza that "the Sicilian citrus fruit campaign started two months ago with good quality blonde oranges. A few days ago, we started harvesting and commercialising blood oranges as well, although demand is not satisfactory, despite the proximity to the Christmas period." 

The main clients are leading domestic retailers, which absorb around 75% of the production - 12 cooperatives for 180 members in total with 1,600 hectares of blood oranges, tangerines, lemons, melons, watermelons, prickly pears, apricots, plums, peaches, nectarines and persimmons. 12% of the production is absorbed by domestic wholesale markets, 10% is destined to European markets and 3% goes to extra-EU countries.

OP Agrisicilia owns 10 modern processing facilities equipped with modern machinery to meet all customer needs, be always punctual and present the produce always at its best, with the latest packaging technologies (Flow-packs, Girsaks, Vertbags, Nets, 1 to 4 kg heat-sealed bags or cardboard boxes). The entire system holds product and GlobalGap certifications.

"Our production, packaging and commercialisation processes mean we are one of the most updated and dynamic companies in the Sicilian citrus fruit sector," stresses Sebastiano Paladino, founder and current President of the PO.

Battiato adds that "the campaign could be shorter than the previous one, not only due to the lower quantities (-30%) but also because of the bad weather and abundant rain. Early drops have been noticed in the Catania area."

"Quality is good though, with medium-big grades. This will lead to higher prices and livelier demand, we hope."

"We need to make our blood oranges, which are unique all over the world, stand out by promoting aggregation, renewing varieties to extend the commercialisation calendar and push our fruit abroad also by stressing the difference between fresh and processed product."

"Basically we need to exalt those organoleptic and beneficial qualities that only blood oranges have, so as to make them stand out against other citrus fruit." 

O.P. Agrisicilia Soc. Cons. a r. l.
Via Pietro Nenni n. 17
95047 PaternĂ² (CT)
Tel.: (+39) 095 7974928
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