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Southern Italy: controversy over the price of raw materials

11/05/2020 - François-Xavier Branthôme - 2020 Season - Lire en français
POs are asking for a 40% increase compared to 2019

The Coronavirus crisis has had – and will continue to have – a number of different effects, some of which were not expected. Among these, a controversy has arisen around the price of raw materials in southern Italy, fueled by the delay caused by health constraints imposed on the meetings that were necessary for negotiations. This has developed particularly over the past week. Below is a summary and update as of 8 May 2020.

6 May
According to the Anicav (National Industrial Association of Canned Food operators), producers’ organizations that were gathered at the negotiating table for the price of processing tomatoes in the south-central region in 2020 proposed a price increase of 40% compared to the price concluded for the 2019 campaign. Processors unanimously issued a note stating that “this is an unacceptable request”, explaining that this would make the price rise to EUR 130 per tonne for round tomatoes and EUR 140 per tonne for oblong tomatoes, against EUR 95 and 105 in 2019. “In the processing region of northern Italy, price negotiations have been concluded at a price of EUR 88 /metric tonne, or around 2% more than in 2019, and our global competitors have set prices that carry over or are just slightly higher than in the previous season.” The note concludes by stating that “companies in the south-central region have always paid the tomatoes about 10% more than those in the north, and a further increase in this price gap at the present time could cause serious difficulties for companies and threaten to destroy the tomato processing sector in central Italy in the medium- to long-term.”

8 May
In response to ANICAV's statements regarding the negotiation of the price for processing tomatoes in the central region of Italy, representatives of producers’ organizations stated that they remain convinced and determined in requesting that “the agricultural parties should revise in a concrete and definitive way the price to be attributed to tomatoes which, in addition to providing the work and the subsistence of thousands of farms, constitute the output of the labor of thousands of employees of the food-industry sector as a whole, furthermore representing an major feature of the identity of an important macroeconomic sector of the country. The aim of this request from the tomato producers’ organizations is above all to restore dignity to a traditional product, which is currently sliding inevitably into the confusion and anonymity of globalization.
Additional and contingent reasons, such as the difficulties of water supply in certain regions and, in general, of the recruitment of the labor force, involve an increase in costs and probable agronomic difficulties for production throughout the sector. All of these reasons oblige the representatives of the growers to maintain the expression of their legitimate positions, which aim to guarantee balanced economic results.

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