Agronomy: Franco-Italian partnership
- François-Xavier Branthôme
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An important agreement between companies in Italy and France was signed at the beginning of the year with a view to improving Italian productivity in the field of processing tomatoes and increasing the profitability of agricultural operations. This partnership was drawn up between Italian company Timac Agro Italia (plant health inputs, a subsidiary of French group Roullier), the Consorzio Agrario di Cremona and the Consorzio Casalasco del Pomodoro. It opens new prospects in terms of innovation for this industry, with a technological partnership aimed at bringing about cutting edge production methods that can increase crop yields. The agreement includes the commitment to develop new fertilizers to increase the productivity and quality of crops, and guarantee better profitability for growers.
Timac Agro Italia is one of the companies of the Groupe Roullier Zone Italie, the Italian arm of the transalpine multinational group whose businesses include fertilizers and food supplements for farm animals, among other activities. The group employs more than 8 000 people, operating 70 factories in different parts of the world, with a recorded turnover of more than EUR 3.2 billion per year.
The Consorzio Casalasco del Pomodoro is the biggest processor of tomatoes in Italy, with a market presence that includes major well-known brands like Pomì and De Rica. Set up in 1977, it has contracts with 370 growers in the regions of Mantua, Cremona, Parma and Piacenza, with a total of 7 000 hectares planted with tomatoes. The Consorzio runs three plants that process more than 550 000 tonnes of raw tomato each year.
With this agreement, Timac Agro Italia is expected to provide technical assistance for independent growers by offering advice throughout the country thanks to a team of 150 agronomists, and it will give both companies access to the skills of the 150 researchers employed by the French research center of the Roullier group, the biggest private institution in Europe for innovation in the field of nutrition.
As explained by Paolo Voltini, the president of the Consortium Casalasco and the Consorzio Agrario di Cremona, this partnership is part of "a commitment from the entire industry to respond positively to the needs of growers in terms of inputs and innovative technical itineraries."
Improvement targets in terms of the quantity and quality of crops, whilst complying with environment-friendly constraints and sustainable production regulations, are seen as "a first stage on the road to a strategic collaboration with qualified partners in order to achieve concrete results on location in the fields."
Sources: ilsole24ore, oglioponews.it, cremonaoggi.it, cremaonline.it