In Sicily, Syngenta organised “A day about the present and the future of courgettes in Italy” with the participation of producers, technicians, retailers and nursery farmers. During the day, many topics were discussed such as varietal innovations, plant diseases, genetic research and consumption trends.
Visiting the PO
In the first half of the day, visitors went to the Fonteverde di Ispica PO. The company showed the potentiality of the Syngenta varieties with tunnel transplanting in the last week of September. Some of the varieties are Kasos, Cronos, Prometheus, Logos, CV9205, Ortano, Melissa, Amorgos, Patmos in addition to many other varieties with different characteristics. This was a demonstration of the breadth of Syngenta’s offer. The company is capable of meeting any requirements with regard to each of the Italian market’s segments.
One of the many tunnels showcased during the day
The Cucurbitacee Syngenta Italia product manager, Giuseppe Circella, guided the visitors through the varietal showcasing and answered their numerous questions.
Videointerview to Giuseppe Cirella
The second part of the day was dedicated to a conference about the “Present and the future of courgette farming, marketing and consumption”. The discussions focused on the courgette situation in Italy by taking into account the European context. Therefore, risks and opportunities were discussed in terms of agronomic and market performances and on consumption development.
Ciro Santoro, Syngenta Italia's Technical Crop Advisor Vegetable Seeds
The conference started with an introduction by Giuseppe Circello. He talked about “the importance that this kind of events has for discussing the courgette situation. In this way, we can share and discuss ideas for an increasingly crucial crop for Italy”.
The manager said, “After more than 10 years from another courgette conference, we at Syngenta thought that it was now the occasion to discuss the development and the opportunities regarding this crucial Italian produce”.
Giuseppe Circella giving his talk
Then, the EAME Cucurbitacee Syngenta portfolio manager Peter Szungyi took the stage. He is the Syngenta European responsible for the courgette segment. He described the current international situation discussing developments, trends, surfaces and impacts on the Italian market.
Szungyi claimed that “the Italian market is the principal European consumption market (more than 9 kg/per capita in 2017). With regard to the courgette, Italy is different from Spain and Morocco, for they are mostly exporters and therefore producers rather than consumers”.
The expert highlighted how “the courgette consumption is increasing, especially regarding the white courgette in Middle-East and North Africa – most likely because of the increase in population. The green courgette consumption is increasing in Northern and Central Europe which introduced such a produce only recently”.
According to Szungyi “These are the principal trends for the years to come: the consolidation of production facilities and their specialisation, a further change toward the protected farming in Central-Southern Europe and the produce diversification. Additionally, it is crucial to take into account the productive stability, the greatest efficiency - even with decreasing inputs, genetic resistance, quality-goods, quality post-harvesting, parthenocarpy, packaging and fresh-cut ".
After Szungyi, Walter Davino took the stage and he discussed the farming dangers: the plant diseases and especially the “New Delhi” virus spotted in Sicily. Davino conducted an extensive research on the development and the impact of plant diseases on the courgette. But also, he looked for solutions to reduce such a risk. Epidemiology, diffusion, symptomatology, control strategies, sanitary rules and resistance mechanisms have captured the attention of the audience.
Syngenta geneticist Guillaume Menet discussed the courgette genetic improvement that Syngenta carried out with a particular attention to the Italian market, its segmentation and the produce differentiation. Furthermore, Menet illustrated the development and the results of the Syngenta’s courgette and he also showed the current Syngenta’s breeding guidelines: the plant’s poise, the impact on labour reduction and profitability, production stability, genetic resistance, tolerance to stress abiotic, fruit quality and diversification. The goals that can be achieved in a short time are parthenocarpy, max photosynthetic efficiency and ToLCNDV protection.
The last intervention was by Roberto Della Casa (Bologna University). He discussed the characteristics of the Italian markets and the courgette consumption for the distribution channel. Della Casa illustrated some data about the courgette appreciation and its consumption development. Furthermore, this data shed some light on the fresh raw courgette consumption, on different produce range and its packaging. In other words, he gave some ideas on how to promote the courgette through segmentation thanks to specific services for this produce.
The visitors were extremely interested in these topics. The conference ended in a more optimistic tone as the opportunities that technological and varietal innovation could bring to this sector.
Giuseppe Circella concluded the session, “Syngenta will keep investing in and focusing on the courgette in Italy thus ensuring its leadership and partnership role”.