The new 2018/19 campaign has started at Italo's Farmer. The company is currently producing Mozia cherry tomatoes in greenhouses, the only ones that - according to company manager Giuseppe Cilio - provide satisfactory yields in summer.
"We are pleased with production and, although this is the beginning of the season, clients have shown their interest. We're currently selling our cherry tomatoes at a price that exceeds the period average, i.e. approx. €2.20/kg for 3 kg packets and €1.20 for 500 gram packets. If prices remain like this, they'd be very profitable."
According to Giuseppe, the objective would be to find a balance in quotations that only varies depending on quality. "This would improve retail and market planning both in northern Europe ad Italy. The daily change in quotations from operators had led to the loss of many clients who prefer going elsewhere, even abroad, to find more consistent volumes and constant prices."
Expectations for the 2018/19 campaign
"I believe it'll be a good year for cherry and plum tomatoes whereas, for other vegetables such as aubergines and peppers, the market will be dominated by Spain. The weather also plays an important role."
Giuseppe explains that, in winter, Morocco and Spain are the only competitors while all producer countries become competitors in summer. "Just think of the Netherlands, Great Britain, France and Switzerland which, in summer, stop importing from Italy to promote local productions. Unfortunately our supermarkets don't do the same because they focus on cheaper prices."
"The war on prices is destroying our national agriculture, we can't be the ones who are destroying our productions ourselves."
Why Italo's Farmer?
Italo's Farmer is a company managed by Giuseppe and his brother Vincenzo Cilio, young entrepreneurs growing produce in sunny Sicily.
"I came up with the name Italo's to stand out on the market as Italian, then we added Farmer because we wanted to convey the fact that the produce comes directly from our greenhouses. We want to stress the high-quality of the Italian produce and want to be recognised as growers first. This is why we focus on niche stores that promote our vegetables rather than on large volumes."
The product range includes cucumbers, courgettes, black and purple round aubergines, streaked oblong aubergines, bunch tomatoes, cherry and plum tomatoes and green, yellow and red peppers. Vegetables are grown in greenhouses covering around 25 hectares. The characteristics of the produce are advertised by the design of the packaging.
The Cilio family also manages "Costa Vivaio" a nursery producing grafted and non-grafted tomato, aubergine, cucumber, pepper and courgette plants.