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Citrus District of Sicily – a network of quality producers

The Citrus District of Sicily is the first ground-breaking consortium formed in the region to create synergy between private marketing and processing companies, along with local authorities and the farming world.

An increasing number of wholesalers and operators in the fruit and vegetable markets are seeking out Italian fruit, due to the sentiment and identity bound up with certainty about its geographical origin, guaranteed by its PDO and PGI certificates and its quality, and also because they realise that Italian consumers are willing to buy citrus fruit when they know it comes from Sicily.

Synergies are needed to promote the excellent quality of Sicilian agri-food products at every level, as this is probably the only way to make more space for the firms in this value chain and improve their returns. Founded in 2011, the Citrus District of Sicily is the first ground-breaking consortium formed in the region to create synergy between private marketing and processing companies, along with local authorities and the farming world. The district, chaired since its foundation by agronomist Federica Argentati, represents over 2,000 sector members and over 21,000 ha of orchards and has an annual turnover of over €400 million.

Discussing upcoming strategies, Argentati believes it is necessary for the district to also become a monitoring authority for citrus production in Sicily, since it is currently almost impossible to gain clear knowledge of the volumes produced, as the information sent is often incomplete or confused, with reports often even contradicting each other. “To be more competitive, we need to know about the production volumes in real-time, as well as the quality of our products,” Argentati said.

Image source: ‘Sicilian citrus fruits. A day in the island of the sun.’ video

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EU approves PGI for Italian onion

Italy’s ‘Cipolla Bianca di Margherita’ – a sweet, white onion produced along the Adriatic coast – was registered in the EU as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) on October 20.

Italy’s ‘Cipolla Bianca di Margherita’ – a sweet, white onion produced along the Adriatic coast – was registered in the EU as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) on October 20.

According to the PGI application, the onion (Allium cepa L.) is a fresh product, noted for its succulent bulbs with a high sugar content. When harvested it must be sweet and juicy in the mouth and be tender and crisp in texture.

There are four different local ecotypes, based on the growing period: ‘Marzaiola’ or ‘Aprilatica’, ‘Maggiaiola’, ‘Giugniese’ and ‘Lugliatica’.

The production area for ‘Cipolla bianca di Margherita’ comprises the territories of the municipalities of Margherita di Savoia, Zapponeta and Manfredonia.

“Thanks to the specific genetic characteristics of the populations that have been selected and propagated over centuries by the local farmers and to the specific soil and climatic conditions, the ‘Cipolla bianca di Margherita’ has distinct characteristics,” the application said.

A study by the University of Foggia found that compared to other white onion cultivars grown outside the geographical area, the the most significant differences of ‘Cipolla bianca di Margherita’ onions are:

  • a low level of dry matter and soluble solids, making the onion crunchier and more succulent,
  • lack of sharpness,
  • high quantities of reducing sugars, making them sweeter
  • they are harvested earlier than in other growing areas.

Source: DOOR

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Peaches and nectarines PGI: enjoy the difference!

The peach and the nectarine of Romagna, produced only in the typical area that covers the provinces of Forlì-Cesena, Ravenna, Ferrara and Bologna, are the only ones that can boast about PGI brand, the European recognition, that guarantees their uniqueness and emphasizes the close link with the territory of origin, which for its special environmental characteristics and for the historical tradition of the producers, allows to obtain qualitative levels of excellence.

The summer season brought to Italian tables the peaches and nectarines of the Romagna PGI, which returned for the second consecutive year as protagonists of the triennial European campaign of communication and promotion of the fruit and vegetable PDO and PGI.

With the message Enjoy the difference!, Europe signs the products of its territories, the campaign had as its goal increasing knowledge of PGI products, which seem with defined characteristics guaranteed by the European label.

The peach and the nectarine of Romagna, produced only in the typical area that covers the provinces of Forlì-Cesena, Ravenna, Ferrara and Bologna, are the only ones that can boast the PGI brand, the European recognition that guarantees their uniqueness and emphasises the close link with the territory of origin, which for its special environmental characteristics and for the historical tradition of the producers, allows to obtain qualitative levels of excellence.

In Italy from the last mid-July until mid-August, some promotional activities organised within the framework of the EU campaign were carried out: the peaches and the nectarines of Romagna PGI were present in some of the main chains of the large-scale retail, like Abbondanza, Super Alì, Coop Adricatica. In the sales points of the chains concerned, information on the peach and the nectarine of Romagna PGI was distributed, helping consumers discover all the benefits of these tasty fruits.

Moreover, the activities have continued with the sponsorship of some local events like the youth football S. Agostino Tournament in the province of Ferrara that held the 6th – 7th July 2015, in partnership with the mountain bike eventPlan de Corones MTB Race of the 18th July to San Vigilio di Marebbe, in the province of Bolzano on July 19th the Tournament of Beach Basketball to Bagno Kusall in Lido di Spina (Comacchio), in order to end with the tournament of Beach tennis the13th/14th/18th July to Bagno Marrakech in Lido di Spina.

The Radicchio of Treviso and the pear of Emilia-Romagna are the other two products that characterise the European campaign in Italy.

The European multi-country (France, Italy and Spain) program of information and promotion “Fruits & Vegetables PDO-PGI” promotes the official European labels PDO-PGI, through the example of 8 varieties of fruit and vegetables.

These are:
for France, the KIWI de L’ADOUR PGI, the SANDS ASPARAGUS PGI (Landes), the PÉRIGORD STRAWBERRY PGI and the AGEN PRUNEAU PGI
for Italy, the EMILIA ROMAGNA PEAR PGI, the ROMAGNA PEACH/NECTARINE PGI and the RADICCHIO of TREVISO PGI
for Spain, KAKI OF RIBERA del XÙQUER PDO

The communication and promotion campaign, called “Europe signs the products of its terroirs”, targets 3 countries of the European Union: France, Italy and Germany.
The aim of this campaign is to inform and sensitize the consumers and the professionals of the sector on the PDO and PGI products and on their multiple assets, through the valorization and the promotion of the terroir.

Duration of the program: February 2014-February 2017

source: August newsletter of AREFLH (Assembly of European Fruit and Vegetable Growing and Horticultural Regions)