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Interview with Dario Valerio, commercial director of Sotea

Good demand and fair average prices for Italian dark green courgettes

"The winter season of our dark green courgette has not started brilliantly. In December 2022, prices were not really encouraging," says Dario Valerio, commercial director of the Italian cooperative Sotea, based in the province of Latina. "In January, when the quality of the product from other Italian growing areas dropped, the supply from our region increased, and so did the prices. Now the demand is really good, and the average prices are reasonable. We can therefore say that we are satisfied."

"Nevertheless, for about ten days, there has been an oversupply on the market, which has led to a drop in prices. We supply the Italian retail sector, and for this reason, we are able to continue to work well. We supply quite large quantities of dark green courgettes every day. The season of light green zucchini ended two weeks ago," says the sales manager. "The above-average temperatures have accelerated the ripening process. For Sotea, light green zucchini is a niche product, but the results obtained are good."

Sotea's 60 hectares of dark green courgettes are harvested ten months of the year. The only months when production does not take place are July and August due to high temperatures. The courgettes are one of the most important products for the company and also a symbol of horticulture in the Agro Pontino region. Zucchini from the Lazio region is lighter in color and sweeter in taste than those from other growing areas.

The cooperative was founded in 1999 by 19 young growers who identified an added value in working together to sell their products. In just a few years, the cooperative has grown into a significant company. The cooperative currently has 32 members. Its cultivation areas are located in the municipalities of San Felice Circeo, Sabaudia, and Terracina. The area is ideally suited for vegetable production.

Sotea has been operating on the market for almost 25 years with a diverse range of products. In winter, in addition to courgettes, there is a number of products destined exclusively for export to Central and Eastern Europe, such as carrots, kohlrabi, and radishes. In summer, peppers, eggplants, Dumara watermelons, and green Friggitelli peppers are grown. About 90 percent of production goes to Italian and European retailers.

About Sotea's future projects, the sales manager says, "The cooperative is on a good path. It is gradually growing and entering into new collaborations. Regarding the fair in Berlin, we can say that we are very satisfied with the same number of visitors as in the period before Corona. Thanks to Consorzio Pontino, Cassa Rurale dell'Agro Pontino, and BCC Bank, who organized the stand and allowed us to participate in the fair, we were able to expand our customer base again."

For more information:
Sotea Soc. Coop. Agr.
Via Della Molella, 41
04017 San Felice Circeo (LT) - Italy
+39 0773 59 75 58
+39 349 889 9898
[email protected]

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