The experience of a producer in Basilicata

"This year, I didn't abandon my strawberry fields ahead of time."

About a year ago, Ermal Gjuzi, an agricultural entrepreneur from the Italian town of Scanzano Jonico (Basilicata), abandoned part of his strawberry fields because he could hardly recruit enough staff to work in harvesting. The situation at his farm has drastically changed at an organizational and weather-related level.

"At the end of April 2022, I decided to abandon the first hectares of Sabrosa-Candonga, having done the same thing a few weeks earlier with an early variety. The current strawberry campaign, fortunately, is seeing all areas (about 7 hectares) harvested, thanks to the much-needed efforts of 35 employees, the same as last year. Between now and 10 days from now, I don't think I will have to make any drastic decisions caused by the lack of workforce, despite the fact that the season is coming to a close," explains the strawberry grower.

The abnormal weather pattern, with frequent comebacks of cold weather, has meant no production surplus was reached in the months between March and April, thus not congesting markets and producers.

Ermal Gjuzi

"So far the plants have been yielding almost steadily, without production peaks," continues Ermal. "Temperatures have been below average until recently. Only in the last few days the milder weather and thus also the increased brightness seem to have accelerated the ripening process, but not in such a way as to create an exaggerated supply. Should I face serious difficulties and not be able to guarantee harvesting operations on all my strawberry fields in the coming weeks, the first variety I might decide to go with is Candonga, for which I have currently reached an average of 500 g/plant."

Ermal Gjuzi explains that half of his areas dedicated to strawberries involve the Inspire cultivar. "Last year I had to leave several hundred kilograms of fruit on the ground because I was unable to operate the harvest. Inspire allows me to harvest even several days apart, while maintaining the organoleptic characteristics. It is a cultivar that does not require frequent detaching and allows me to organize harvesters before the strawberries become unsuitable for marketing."

For more information:
Azienda Agricola Ermal Gjuzi
Via G. Pastore, 14
75020 - Scanzano Jonico
(+39) 3400067525

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