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Interview with Giuseppe Zarba, president of fresh produce dealers in Vittoria

Table tomato prices remain high

The prices of Sicilian greenhouse vegetables continue to remain rather high, but only when it comes to table tomatoes. 

A small tour taken with Giuseppe Zarba, president of the dealers of the Vittoria fresh produce market, confirms a trend that producers hope will continue for quite a while.

Giuseppe Zarba

"There is no other explanation for such high prices than the lack of greenhouse produce. The weather that lasted until the fall led to this situation in which demand is exceeding supply. To this, we must add that the countries that overlook the Mediterranean Sea have had their own production problems and, therefore, could not compensate for our deficit. What is more, producers from Northern Europe, who usually grow under artificial light, had to stop due to the higher energy prices. Plus, the overall (international) tomato production continues to suffer from the ToBRFV virus," explained Giuseppe Zarba.

The average prices for the various products part of the extra category are the following: cherry tomatoes 2.80 euro/Kg; midi plum tomatoes 2.40 euro/Kg; plum tomatoes 2.80 euro/kg; yellow plum tomatoes 4.00 euro/kg. Bell peppers are also doing well: red peppers 1.80 euro/kg; yellow peppers 2.50 euro/kg. The situation is different for the other products: zucchini 0.60 - 0.70 euro/kg; round eggplants 0.40 euro/kg; cucumbers 0.30 euro/kg. Of course, these are not all the products available, but the prices reported by Zarba provide us with a good idea of the situation.

"The price of eggplants is low due to Spanish competition, as production is peaking. Harvesting of the most recent table tomato transplants will start soon. However, we are not expecting a lot of produce, at least in the beginning. Round smooth tomatoes from Holland and Albania and cherry tomatoes from extra-EU Mediterranean areas are about to arrive on the Italian market."

"Despite the lacking volumes for those who, like me, mainly produce tomatoes for the fresh market, the overall trend has been positive so far. What we lost in quantity, we recovered thanks to the higher value of the commercialized produce. It's a minimal price difference compared with last year, but it is still satisfactory."

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