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News

North Italy processing season at 45% of completion

24/08/2023 - Press release , Sophie Colvine - 2023 Season
Late transplants due to the flood and weather anomalies in May make the outcome of the campaign uncertain. The point at a supply chain meeting organised by OI Pomodoro da Industria Nord Italia with Emilia-Romagna Regional Councillor Alessio Mammi at the Conserve Italia plant in Pomposa di Codigoro (Fe). Post-flood reconstruction, CAP 2024 coupled aid, certainty of environmental and social sustainability requirements for tomato derivative imports into Europe were the other central themes of the meeting.

On Wednesday 23 August, the members of the Interprofessional Organisation
OI Pomodoro da Industria Nord Italia met with the Emilia-Romagna Region's Agriculture Councillor Alessio Mammi. The meeting took place in Pomposa di Codigoro (Fe), at the factory of Conserve Italia, one of the member companies of the IO.
 The meeting was an opportunity to take an initial stock of the progress of the 2023 season and to discuss a number of topical issues: from the measures for the areas hit by the flood to the rules for the disbursement of coupled aid 2024, to the request to bind the import of non-EU tomato derivatives into Europe to the same environmental, social and ethical requirements demanded of European producers. 

Proximity to the territories affected by the flooding
The President of OI Pomodoro da Industria Nord Italia Tiberio Rabboni opened the meeting by stressing that 'The choice of Pomposa is not random. We are here to bear witness to the closeness of the entire tomato chain to the territory and local producers so badly hit by the May floods. A closeness that for us, an organised and representative supply chain in Northern Italy, means dutifully taking on the legitimate demands of those who have suffered damage. This is why we have asked Councillor Mammi to briefly illustrate the state of affairs from the point of view of the national, EU and regional resources actually available for reconstruction and compensation, as well as the timing of disbursement and intervention."

Data and prospects for the 2023 campaign 
The tomato harvesting campaign in northern Italy began a few weeks ago. As of 23 August, the tomatoes harvested were of good quality with a brix of 4.97, in line with the average for the period. The quantity delivered to the industry is about 45% of the quantities indicated in the 131 sale-purchase contracts signed and deposited at the headquarters of the IO Pomodoro da Industria Nord Italia. 

Production is affected, on the one hand, by the weather anomalies in May, which caused flooding resulting in the loss of fields destined for cultivation or already cultivated and, more generally, the stoppage or slowing down of transplanting, then moved, for reasons of force majeure, to the month of June. This caused the loss of cultivated areas, delayed ripening and, in the most affected areas, a drop in yields per hectare. In addition, the postponement of an important part of the transplanting to the month of June led to a harvesting campaign centred on two peaks: the one in mid-August, already completed, and the next one in September. 

On the other hand, the heavy rainfall in May was compounded by heavy hailstorms, wind and heavy rain, which affected numerous hectares both east and west of the North Basin from 19 to 25 July, causing extensive damage throughout the area. 

The climatic anomalies of recent months have led to differences between the western and eastern areas. The western area, apart from the soils affected by the heavy hailstorms around 20 July, does not present any major problems or phytosanitary problems, generating yields per hectare in line with those of recent years. The eastern area, on the other hand, suffers from the long-term effects of the heavy rains in May, as well as the flooding, recording average yields of 50-60 t/hectare, much lower than in previous years. In this regard, the North Area Framework Contract 2023 has appropriately provided for a significant reduction in penalties for producers in these areas in the event of non-delivery of the tomato quantities agreed with the industry.

The analysis of transplanting trends carried out by the
IO Pomodoro da Industria Nord Italia shows that a large number of areas are scheduled for harvest in September, a month in which the production outcome is highly uncertain. In fact, significant quantities of tomatoes may be produced if the weather continues to be stable, while a large shortfall may occur if the weather does not allow the tomatoes to ripen and be harvested.

Coupled premium 2024 and European directive for non-EU imports 
During the meeting, President Tiberio Rabboni, on behalf of the IO, presented two proposals to the Councillor for Agriculture of Emilia-Romagna, Alessio Mammi: the first concerns the 2024 coupled CAP premium, which from next year is conditional on the use of 'certified propagation material'. The IO proposes that the Ministry of Agriculture consider for this purpose the 'health certificate' of seedlings to be transplanted under DL 18 of 2 February 2021. 
The second proposal is contained in a document that wants to urge the European Parliament, through the Italian MEPs, the Italian Ministry and the Regions, to approve the 'Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence' directive that requires European importers to guarantee for tomato derivatives produced outside Europe that the environmental and social requirements in force in Europe for such production are met. 

Councillor Mammi's response
In his speech, Emilia-Romagna Councillor for Agriculture Alessio Mammi stressed that "The tomato chain represents an excellence of Emilia-Romagna and more generally of the whole country that we must preserve and support. To do this, however, we need to put in place a national strategy, involving fruit and vegetables
in Italy more generally in the medium and long term, for the relaunch of a sector that has had to face many challenges in recent years, in particular related to climate change and the emergence of new plant diseases. We are aware that if our region is the heart of the country's agri-food industry, we owe it to supply chains, such as the tomato sector, that generate wealth by investing in quality and promotion, with obvious benefits for the territories. Our role will continue to be to put them in a position to compete in international markets through a streamlining of procedures and adequate funding for research."

Conserve Italia: the Pomposa plant in Codigoro
The meeting took place at the Pomposa di Codigoro (Fe) plant of Conserve Italia, a cooperative food processing group, based in San Lazzaro di Savena (Bo) and with a turnover of more than 1.1 billion euro. It associates more than 14,000 Italian farmers grouped in 37 cooperatives and processes 675,000 tonnes of tomatoes, fruit and vegetables in 12 production plants (9 in Italy, 2 in France and 1 in Spain). 
The meeting was followed by a visit to the plant, built between 2002 and 2004, which covers an area of over 440,000 square metres, of which about 120,000 are covered, and has a total processing capacity of 350,000 tonnes of raw materials divided between tomatoes, fruit and vegetables, from which tomato pulps, tomato purees and concentrates, fruit in syrup, jams, pulses and vegetables are obtained, both canned and in glass jars.More than 1,200 permanent and seasonal employees work here.

Source:
OI Pomodoro da Industria Nord Italia
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