In April in Ferrara, Italy’s fresh produce agency Centro Servizi Ortofrutticoli (CSO) – a leading forum for operators throughout the fruit and vegetable supply chain – held its assembly to elect its governing bodies for the next three-year term.
It elected the new 21-member Board of Directors and the Board of Statutory Auditors and ratified Paolo Bruni as chairman and Carlo Manzo of Ortofruit Italia and Cesare Bellò of OPO Veneto as vice-chairmen.
“CSO is a unique case in Italy, bringing together 65 enterprises (both growers and the value chain they operate through), with projects and strategies for sector growth and development. Together, today, we have shared our ideas on the most urgent needs and strategies for the sector,” said Paolo Bruni, remarking that this gives a boost to innovation and serves the true internationalisation of the companies that are trying to conquer spaces on the world markets. It serves increasingly close cooperation, the rationalisation of logistics and a single voice that demands infrastructure and investment in sustainability.
Competitiveness is also the watchword of the Emilia Romagna Councillor of Agriculture, Simona Caselli, who emphasises the region’s considerable commitment to the 2014-2020 rural development programme. It has already made €83.5 million available through two invitations to apply for competitiveness projects, which with co-funding will mobilise €200 million. The Emilia Romagna Region has made a very precise choice that focuses on sustaining profitability while targeting modernisation of the production processes and support for quality products and for product and process innovations.
Research and innovation investment also lies at its heart: over the seven years of the new programme, over €50 million will be channelled through EIP OPs (European Innovation Partnership operational groups), a completely new instrument devised by the EU for collaboration between farms, universities and research centres. The first invitation has already been published and has received considerable attention.
More generally, over €90 million could be available for the entire knowledge system. The resources of the fruit and vegetable CMO should also be taken into account: they amounted to over €73 million in 2015. An important instrument for pursuing a fundamental objective is aggregation and integration to achieve greater market competitiveness. There are still too many companies in Emilia-Romagna that do not export. “Afterwards we will also talk about tariff barriers and international agreements, incentives for exporting, new instruments such as Ecommerce and electronic stock markets and commodity exchanges, innovation, start-ups and partnerships with scientific institutions, brand protection and fighting counterfeits,” Caselli said.