When horticultural seed companies introduce new tomato varieties for industrial processing, they need to consider whether they can achieve the dual benefit of providing the best possible balance in both yields and quality.
The new Syngenta tomato varieties are a step in this direction. Fantix (an elongated variety) and Redix (a prismatic variety), which have already been tested in the last two years by a number of Italian companies and are now fully part of their production programs. Among these are the Soc. Coop. Agricola Mediterraneo S.p.A., one of Italy's leading companies in the production of processed tomatoes and a partner of Gianluigi Di Leo's Calispa S.p.a., specialized in the production of high quality canned tomatoes, sold both under its own brand Nobile and under the distributor's brand. (Pictured alongside: Marco Nicastro - Soc Coop Agr Mediterraneo S.p.a and Gianluigi Di Leo, Director of Calispa Spa).
We spoke with Marco Nicastro (pictured below), entrepreneur and president of Soc. Coop. Agricola Mediterraneo S.p.A., located in Torremaggiore, in the Foggia area, one of Italy's most specialized areas for growing tomatoes for the processing industry.
"This species has always been our core business. We were born in 2011 and then obtained the recognition as a PO in 2013. At the moment we count 500 hectares of land dedicated to tomatoes, with 30 producers located in Puglia, Basilicata, Lazio and Tuscany. We focus on business ethics, setting the price the year before, recognizing the value of the agricultural producer's work, and ensuring transparency and legality in the supply chain. We want to increase the value of made in Italy products, and a high initial level of quality is essential, so we are always looking for varieties that perform optimally even in the face of climate change. Fantix and Redix are part of an experimental project that started two years ago. Today, 12 hectares are planted with both varieties, but we will reach 50 hectares by the 2024 season".
Marco Nicastro Soc Coop Agr Mediterraneo and Paolo Fiscarelli Syngenta Vegetable Seeds
The president explains that in the current year, which is characterized by critical climatic issues, such as sudden changes in terms and persistent heat, the two Syngenta cultivars have resisted better than those traditionally grown in the area. "The weather pattern has compromised many crops. Fantix and Redix resisted well, showing excellent resistance to July's African temperatures and sunburn. In fact, the attractive foliage protects the berries, ensuring high yields and a product that meets the sustainability and quality requirements of the market. Quality is created in the field and maintained throughout the supply chain to the end consumer. Fantix and Redix have excellent berry retention even during prolonged droughts, which are becoming more frequent. Sustainability is one of our priorities and we are keen to minimize waste in the fields, in part through appropriate genetic selection.
Fantix: Long variety suitable for early to mid-season transplanting. A high yielding variety with a harvest between late July and mid-September, ideal for processing into peeled tomatoes and also suitable as a diced tomato and for the fresh market. Berries are uniform, good size (75-85 g) and deep red in color, both on the outside and inside. Very firm flesh.
Redix: prismatic, productive variety, ideal for early and medium transplanting, appreciated on the market for both its excellent shelf life in the fields and after harvesting, along with its ripening potential and exceptional adaptability to different soil conditions. The harvesting period is from the end of July to the beginning of September. Ideal for pulp/passata (sauce).
Paolo Fiscarelli (pictured above), technical sales manager for Syngenta Vegetable Seeds, says: "It is essential to work with companies in the area in a systematic way. A constant presence and a continuous interaction allow us to work in a targeted and optimal way, right from the stages of genetic selection and management in the fields, and then on to the harvest. With Soc. Coop. Agricola Mediterraneo, we have built a relationship of trust and cooperation with the common goal of providing quality products to increase the value of Italian processed foods.
For more information:
Soc. Coop. Agricola Mediterraneo S.p.A
Via Foggia km 0.600, Torre Maggiore, Italy
+39 335 689 6168
Paolo Fiscarelli – Technical sales manager Syngenta Vegetable Seeds Puglia and Basilicata
+39 338 6222069