More lively consumption, higher prices and new orchards for persimmons

The Italian persimmon campaign started a few weeks ago – growers seem happy with both production and marketing and the produce is selling well. “The notes are excellent and the fruits color 10 to 15 days earlier than in previous years thanks to the considerable temperature differences between night and day in October (up to 10 ° C in some regions)”, explains Vito Vitelli, agronomist and creator of Circuit Melotto.

The “Rojo Brillante” persimmons with excellent qualities, which were ready to be harvested in the region of Metaponto and Caserta already at the end of October.

“Prices have gone from an average of 0.40 € / kg in 2020 to 0.60 € / kg currently. Consumption is on the rise and new orchards are being planted. Spain has always been a competitor, as it has contributed to aggressive trade policies and downward pressure which caused prices paid to producers to drop from 0.35-0.40 € / kg six / seven years ago to 0.20-0.25 € / kg currently (to reach as little as 0.08-0.10 € / kg in 2019). Over the past 20 years, the country has only increased its production of persimmon, resulting in abundant supplies and lower prices. ”

Whiteflies are among the problems affecting Spanish persimmons

“A physiological crisis and a monoculture environment led to a series of problems (eg whiteflies and Planococcus). As this was not enough, at the end of September some growing areas in Spain were hit by downpours and hailstorms which damaged many productions of Rojo Brillante, making the start of the season more difficult after years already compromised by the point view of profits. Right: Planococcus sp. (citrus scale).

“Spanish growers, especially mid-low level ones who were already working with low profit margins, started pulling plants to focus on other productions such as citrus. Therefore, it might be a good time for Italy to invest in persimmon production. What happened in Spain should not make us think that we should no longer promote the cultivation of persimmon, because the mission is to extend the harvest calendar from October to January and then to make the product available until in March with adapted post-harvest and cold storage techniques. ”

Italian growers have shown a lot of interest in the production of persimmon in recent years. We are evaluating the possibility of extending the harvest until January with special techniques in environments protected by netting.

“We must point out that Spain has invested in around 20,000 hectares for the production of Rojo Brillante, while Italy has barely 3,000 now. We still need orchards to meet domestic demand, given that there will be no more invasion of foreign products wholesaled for just under a euro. As for Turkey, around 1000 hectares have been reached so far, but this does not appear to be a particular threat to Italy, as the country is mainly interested in Arab and Eastern European markets.

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