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Italy: will harvest results be 10% lower than forecast?

30/08/2018 - Press release , François-Xavier Branthôme - 2018 Season - Lire en français
The annual visit of Emilia-Romagna regional Councilor for Agriculture Simona Caselli to the site of Menù di Medolla (which was entirely rebuilt after the earthquake of 2012) and to the new factory of the Gruppo Cavicchi provided the opportunity for the Pomodoro Nord Italia IO to give a mid-season update on processing prospects for 2018. 

According to information supplied by the IO, northern Italy's industry had processed approximately 1.4 million tonnes (metric, mT) as of 23 August. "To date, explained the President of the IO, Tiberio Rabboni, close on 50% of the contract quantities have been processed, with faster progress being made in the region of Ferrara where we have already dealt with 60% of the expected tonnage, and a slower rate of progress in the regions of Parma and Piacenza where only 45% of the volumes have been processed."
"In general, industry operators estimate that the total production could be 10% lower than initial contracts at the beginning of the season. Brix values are good, at approximately 4.9. The 2018 harvest season started mid-July and will continue until approximately end of September, featuring strong delivery dynamics that mean we are about one week ahead on the delivery program compared to previous years."
"We have had to face a few difficulties linked to the weather (mainly hail) which mostly affected the regions of Lombardy, Veneto and the surroundings of Ferrara. From an agronomic point of view, the crops have been affected by mites (Tetranycus red spider) in the region of Piacenza. This problem is a big issue and is causing increasing worries, with the IO proposing to join Emilia-Romagna regional authorities in developing a common approach involving all operators, in order to set up an innovative inter-crop strategy that can provide efficient protection.
In future, we hope to develop certification that will guarantee the quality, ethical values and environmental sustainability of the Italian tomato production at the European level.

The drop in production is also affecting the South-Central region
About the same time, POs from the central and southern regions of Italy have been reporting a collapse of the tomato harvest due to bad weather. According to the Italian press, a large number of representatives from the PO of the South-Central District met at the end of August near Foggia in order to evaluate the supply situation of tomatoes for processing.
A careful analysis of the available data shows that to date, approximately 60% of the planted surfaces have been harvested, but that the volumes delivered to factories "do not match the surface of harvested fields." Due to the same abnormal weather conditions for the period, which have seen frequent and heavy rainfall throughout growing regions, local operators are expecting a significant reduction in agricultural yields and in the volumes to be processed.
Overall, the POs that came together expressed serious concerns regarding the difficulties affecting growers as they try to comply with contractual commitments for deliveries and face the economic consequences of the current situation affecting their members.

Source: OI Pomodoro Nord Italia,

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