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Sicilian tomatoes challenge northern-European artificial-light productions

After a summer characterized by low prices between July and September, the tomato market recovered from early October onwards.

"A few additional hectares or a drop in consumption at the height of summer are enough for production prices to drop. These are recurrent and predictable dynamics, just as it was predictable that prices would increase in October, also because there is little produce available. After all, it is difficult to produce with transplants in July and August, as there are quite a few phytopathological problems. Precisely due to plant diseases, many producers preferred delaying transplants by 15 days, leaving a window empty. Plus, there is no more produce available from northern Europe. This in turn means demand exceeds supply," explained Guido Grasso, administrator of Dorilli.

Above: prices at the Vittoria market on October 19th, 2020


Prices at the Vittoria market on August 20th, 2020.

"The picture at the moment is clear, but it is difficult to make a forecast also due to the plant diseases mentioned, including the Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus (ToBRFV), which might affect winter productions. It is quite a difficult problem with which to coexist. There seem to be no other salient elements for the sector, unlike what happened 7-8 years ago with the introduction of artificial light in northern-European crops. That was rather significant for the productive balance and the European market." 

Dorilli full-flavor tomatoes are not considered commodities.

"Rather than something new, it is a situation that persists. Sicily has lost its market share, although there are no big differences with respect to the most recent years. However, there seems to be an opportunity for high-quality Sicilian products on the foreign market. Some sector studies confirm the need of retailers to supply consumers with new diversified products. Now that the quantities produced with artificial light in northern Europe have stabilized, the appeal of full-flavored products has increased, and the Sicilian territory can play its part."

Kamarino is an Azienda Dorilli brand.

"Sicilian productions are dynamic, but only highly-specialized producers with suitable greenhouse technologies can meet the high standards required. Maybe the Sicilian vegetable production sector should learn more from the citrus fruit one which, over the past few years, has managed to modernize groves and implement varietal innovation to intercept high-quality markets."  

Azienda Agricola Dorilli
Contrada Dorilli, S.n.
97011 Acate (RG) - Italy
Tel.: +39 0932 914011
Email: [email protected]

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