Representatives from Basilicata also attended the mixed Contact Group on strawberries that met on 15th March 2019 in the OP Sole meeting room.
The meeting of the Italian-French-Spanish group has the objective of discussing the situation of strawberry cultivation in the respective countries analyzing the strategic issues of the past campaign to improve the ongoing one.
ItaliaOrtofrutta – Unione Nazionale was represented by two entrepreneurs from Basilicata: Carmela Suriano, Ceo of Club Candonga, and Francesco Nicodemo from Nicofruit.
"My intervention focused on the commercial situation, analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the strawberry segment in Europe. According to a few studies, strawberry and soft fruit demand is increasing in Europe, but consumers are not pleased enough with the strawberries from the various member states."
"If the strawberry sector intends to grow, we need to change our approach. We need to promote fruit from the main European producers in terms of both organoleptic qualities, shelf-life and health."
"Club Candonga represents a positive example of how commercialization needs to be approached. The idea of differentiating supply on the European market was a positive one, as consumers are willing to pay a higher price for a product that is a unique cultivar with unique cultivation techniques, ethics and sustainability."
"Consumers do not have the tools to make a distinction between strawberries. Through a marketing campaign, Club Candonga managed to convey the uniqueness of its product making it stand out from the other strawberries."
"To extend this concept to all strawberries from the European countries, member states need to make a greater effort to promote the qualities of the product and change producer strategies to make them focus more on quality rather than on volumes."
"Morocco, Egypt and other nations in Maghreb are increasing their productions and, due to their different legislation, their products arrive on the European market at different conditions, creating unfair competition."
"During the meeting, the French representative spoke of a communication campaign made by the Ministry of Agriculture. However, if we were to have a look at the cultivated surfaces and therefore at the commercialized volumes, France only reaches 20% of what Italy produces."
"Taking inspiration from the French example, Italy could adopt different strategies to promote strawberries also with the help of the various associations and unions."
"The production system in Basilicata is rather advanced. It is the leading Italian producer region for the second year in a row and it implements highly specialized techniques. Team work is essential over the next few years - we need to try and improve production techniques and adopt cultivars with considerable organoleptic qualities, shelf-life and health."