European Seed have published an interview with Alberto Lipparini, Secretary-General of the Italian Seed Association Assosementi, on the impact of COVID-19 on the seed supply chain in Italy.
European Seed (ES): Alberto, the news we are receiving from Italy about the impact of COVID-19 in Italy is shocking. So many cases with infection, so many people have died. What a tragedy!
Alberto Lipparini (AL): The news that you hear every day is not exaggerated! The reality is that we are living in a very worrying situation, which is certainly dramatic in some areas of our country. One of the most distressing things is that we don’t know when all this will end and what consequences it will have on our society and our economy. Moreover, we also read about how this pandemic is spreading to the whole world, witness what is happening in other countries and what is still happening here in Italy.
ES: What kind of impact has COVID-19 on your association?
AL: In Assosementi we have applied to the letter, the provisions of our government: after a few days of alternate work to guarantee the minimum distance between us, all colleagues are now working at home. I am the only one that is going to the office, absolutely isolated, to guarantee a minimum presence.
Outside the office, everyday life confirms once again that we are Italian. People do not always stick to the decreed rules, and the government just had to issue another decree yesterday that forbids access to parks and gardens and which obliges people to stay at home with few exceptions.
In the seed sector, the Italian seed companies promptly adopted the provisions of the Italian government: they reduced their activity to essential operations that cannot be postponed, limiting the presence of workers in the factory to the bare minimum. Work shifts have been adopted in order to minimize the possibility of contact between workers and where it has not been possible to guarantee the minimum distance of one meter from each other, all the necessary PPE have been provided. In this way the activity in the factory has never stopped and the deliveries of seeds to the farms have been guaranteed. This was very important to ensure the spring sowing (maize, various vegetables, etc.) and to guarantee the production for the 2020 campaign.