"A huge bill of €288 thousand risks halting production at Ortogel, the company specializing in citrus fruit juice," reports Salvatore Imbesi (in the photo below), president of the business network gathering three important companies operating on the Sicilian territory: Ortogel e Agrumi-Gel and the Service Calatino cooperative.
In the photo, Salvatore Imbesi giving an interview to TG1. Report by Eleonora Mastromarino at Ortogel in Caltagirone (CT)
The august electricity bill increased by 300%, that of gas by 500%.The data only refers to the consumption of cold storage units, considering that the campaign of processed products has not yet started. The Sicilian pomegranate juice campaign also risks not starting at all.
"We are bitter because we have always implemented sustainable policies! In 2005, a system to recover biomasses for energy purposes was set up at Agrumi-Gel, with the recent addition of photovoltaic panels and systems for the production of Bio-ethanol and the packaging of juice in cartons and PET. Now, almost twenty years later, we are aware that sustainable policies help very little when faced with such price hikes. Drastic measures must be immediately put in place to safeguard companies."
Ortogel and Agrumi-Gel process exclusively the best Sicilian citrus fruits like blond and blood oranges, lemons and tangerines, as well as Calabrian products such as bergamot oranges and grapefruits. They obtain natural juices and juice concentrates, clear and cloudy juices, cold and hot-extracted essences, traditional and organic juices and essences, dried peel for the extraction on pectin, dried peel for feed, bio-ethanol. The companies also feature systems suitable for the processing of summer fruit (prickly pears, apricots, peaches and nectarines) and pomegranates (to obtain fresh arils and 100% juice).
The cooperative managers have issued a document destined to the Mayor of Caltagirone, all category organizations, representatives of the institutions and the police forces to inform them that the permanent state of unrest has been proclaimed for fear of having to close down the plant.
"At the current conditions, we are not able to start the 2023 citrus fruit season as, considering energy costs alone - therefore excluding all the other increases along the chain - the balance sheet would be negative, i.e. with zero margin. The economic stability of 200 families it at risk. In turn, commercialization is also at risk, considering that Ortogel supplies multinationals with considerable volumes of citrus juice thanks to a production capacity that can reach 100 tons a day."
Below is the Press Release signed by the employees of Service Calatino Società Cooperativa
Due to the 300% increase in electricity costs and 500% increase in gas costs compared to 2021, Ortogel has decided to suspend its production activities, leading to the loss of the work order by the employees of Service Calatino Società Cooperativa.
Therefore, the employees of Service Calatino Società Cooperativa, who share the reasons behind the company's decisions - which cannot but close to avoid bankruptcy - and who are aware that other local companies may do the same, hereby declare the state of permanent unrest and invite anyone who would like to participate and send proposals to write to the following e-mail address: email@example.com.