Patrizia Calabrese from OP Fonteverde:

Good season for Sicilian bell peppers and excellent prospects for new carrots

This year, the production and commercial campaign of Sicilian carrots is opposite to that of the past season. Everything started due to the lack of produce in northern Europe, as the season ended much earlier than usual because of the drought. We are talking mainly about the Netherlands, France, and Germany, which now have very limited stocks, thus opening interesting opportunities for new Mediterranean carrot producers such as Sicily, Spain, Israel, and Portugal. 

Patrizia Calabrese

"Demand from northern European countries started coming in a few weeks ago. We started harvesting the first carrots, but we have to wait for them to ripen well. Otherwise, we risk affecting yields. Over the next few weeks, more and more crops will be ready to harvest, so our producers are optimistic. After all, the produce from northern Italy is ending as well, which is good news because it means the big retail chain will necessarily have to reach out to Sicily. Here, the fewer crops sown, reduced by an additional 10% because of the damage caused by the cyclone in early February, will lead to high quotations."

"In such a context, however, we must be careful as we will have to see how consumption will go, as it may drop due to the high prices. At the moment, quantities are mainly destined to be sold under the Igp Carota novella di Ispica brand, which is increasingly appreciated by consumers." 

"In such a context of uncertainty, we have decided to reduce the crops destined for bell peppers. In addition, the low profitability of the product discourages investments, also because the cultivar is difficult to manage as it encounters various phytosanitary problems. Not to mention the lack of labor and price hikes of the material used in the fields. Despite our caution, not everything went as we planned following the warm weather in November/December." 

"Bell peppers have ripened early over the final two months of last year. The increased offer has not excessively unbalanced the market, with a price of €1.00-1.10/kg. These were acceptable quotations which, between January and February 2023, skyrocketed to €2.30-2.50 when the produce lacked in Spain as well. Demand exceeded supply, and we found ourselves not being able to please all requests as we would have liked, especially in February. Bell peppers from Holland were also lacking in the European markets, which were grown under artificial light for the winter cycle. Prices at the moment remain interesting at €2.00-2.20/kg. The greenhouse produce for the fresh produce market will be available soon and until June, unlike the one grown in polytunnels for which harvesting is currently coming to an end." 

For further information:
Patrizia Calabrese
OP Consorzio Fonteverde
Società Consortile Agricola a r.l.
C.da Fontanazza s.n.
97014 Ispica (RG) Italy
Tel.: +39 0932 951484

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