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Strawberry prices stop falling at last

Strawberry prices stop falling at last
Photo: Freshuelva

The average prices at origin of strawberries broke the negative trend since the second half of February, with a 1.6% rise recorded in week 14 compared to week 13. Prices stand at €0.65/kg, which is below the 2018/19 level of €0.70/kg and the 2019/20 level of €0.87/kg, according to data published by the Andalusian authority.

International prices for Spanish standard strawberries (category I) in the main French markets continued their negative trend in week 14. Revista Mercados reports slight decreases in import prices in the Sant Charles market of between 0.5 and 2.6%, and more pronounced falls in the wholesale prices of the Rungis market (13.2-18.7%).

 

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Parthenope® strawberry from CIV, a winning choice in the Southern Italian areas of the provinces of Caserta and Naples

Parthenope® strawberry from CIV, a winning choice in the Southern Italian areas of the provinces of Caserta and Naples
PRESS RELEASE

Testimonies of some producers of Caserta and Naples areas. Parthenope® CIVS115* stands out for its earliness, high percentage of premium fruit, excellent fruit quality and colour in the winter season. Commercially, it has received very positive feedback from large-scale retail channel customers.

A strawberry variety characterised by its early ripening. PARTHENOPE® CIVS115*, a low-chill strawberry variety in Caserta and Naples provinces in the Campania region, one of the most important strawberry growing areas in Italy, is becoming more and more popular among companies.  In fact, there are many producers who have been following it since it was only a selection. In some companies, depending on the planting time, PARTHENOPE® CIVS115* has even proved to be the earliest variety of all strawberry varieties.

Here are the first-hand experiences of some producers who have chosen PARTHENOPE® CIVS115* for the 2020/21 campaign.

The first testimony is that of Alfonso Costanzo, an agricultural producer from the Caserta area.

“We planted about 40,000 of the new CIVS115* plants around October 20, 2020 with a delay of at least 10 days in comparison to the standard. This delay combined with a few weeks of cold weather conditions during January resulted in an initial average harvest at the end of February 2021 of slightly less than 100 g per plant. Nonetheless, in the last few weeks the plants have largely recovered in terms of vegetative and productive capacity, which is a clear sign of the earliness of this variety. The pollination was very good and the fruits are homogeneous, with a nice size and a complete colour level”. Regarding the physiological aspects: ” This variety is characterised by a plant with an upward growth and fruit outside the foliage. This feature, together with the homogenous size and shape of the fruit, makes harvesting easier (speed, quality) and reduces costs”.

Other producers of the same area, including Carlo Bove and Giuseppe Pezone, planted respectively 65,000 and 115,000 new plants of CIVS115*/Parthenope® around mid-October 2020 with a reported yield of about 100 g per plant at the end of February 2021. “The fruit has a very high Brix and a medium acidity, which results in an intense taste. The fruit is appealing, with a conical shape, it is also highly homogeneous among the fruits and able to reach a bright red colour even in winter time. The fruit is therefore very attractive for the markets, where a good shelf-life helps its commercialisation.”.

From a marketing point of view, we give the floor to two leading companies in the fruit distribution/trading sector: Antonio Giaccio (O.P. Giaccio Frutta) and Michele Andreozzi (Agrifutur Coop).

Antonio Giaccio – the owner of O.P. Giaccio Frutta, which operates in the fruit and vegetable area of Alto Casertano – underlines some important characteristics of PARTHENOPE® CIVS115*: “From an agonomic point of view, it is a rustic variety (very tolerant to oidium) that does not suffer from sudden changes in temperature and ripens well even in winter, with low temperatures and little sun. While commercially, the main distinguishing characteristics are: an excellent organoleptic-sensory response (taste), the elongated shape and the aesthetic characteristics of the fruit, characterised by an excellent taste and a homogenous shape, which allows the variety to be adapted to various packaging solutions (e.g. single layer, 500 g, 250 g). This allows us to gradually start offering it both to the large-scale retail channel – our main distribution channel – and to the Normal Trade channel (regional markets) at national level”.

The last testimony about PARTHENOPE® CIVS115* is provided by Michele Andreozzi, the owner of Agrifutur Coop, which collects the harvests of about 8 local producers for a total of approximately 400,000 plants. Michele Andreozzi confirms what other producers have told: “The earliness of this variety when it is planted as a bare-root plant is already well proven. The fact that the fruit is able to develop a uniform colouring (even at the crown) in the winter period with no light is also a very important factor. The homogeneous shape of the fruit, together with the plant structure, results in easy harvesting with a very high percentage of top-quality fruit and therefore lower harvesting costs. PARTHENOPE® CIVS115* is especially suitable for the single-layer tray, which is getting excellent feedback from large-scale retail customers and commercial intermediaries. This means that PARTHENOPE® CIVS115* could also be seen as a promising opportunity to enhance the value of the entire production and distribution chain”.

 

To conclude: these testimonies reveal that PARTHENOPE® CIVS115* is gradually gaining ground as a significant opportunity for production and trade for the areas of Caserta and Naples and, more generally, for the Southern Italian areas, aiming to become a variety with constant, high quality production, characterised by a precocious period.

Info Sheet / CIV Strawberry breeding program

Active since 1984, it has been developed following four lines of research: strawberries for mild Mediterranean climate environments, for continental climate environments, re-flowering and varieties suitable for industrial transformation. The use of traditional techniques, and the development of new varieties that guarantee high production and excellent-quality fruit, together with a natural rusticity and vitality of the plants, are CIV’s primary objectives, in order to offer the national and international markets not only quality but also the highest level of eco-sustainability.

Info Sheet / CIV – Consorzio Italiano Vivaisti

CIV – Consorzio Italiano Vivaisti – is the Italian leader in variety innovation and the production of certified propagation material. Operating since 1983, based in San Giuseppe di Comacchio, in the Italian province of Ferrara, CIV is a joint venture between three leading Italian nurseries: Vivai Mazzoni, Salvi Vivai, Tagliani Vivai. By means of synergy, experience and significant investments in research, CIV is in a position to offer the latest and most market-driven products. For years, and with a great foresight, CIV has been involved in selecting varieties which can provide high quality production with reduced energy requirements and low environmental impact. Altogether, the three nurseries produce about 5 million rootstocks, 3.5 million apple, pear and stone fruit trees and 250 million strawberry plants every year. CIV is a founding member of the International New-varieties Network (INN), a worldwide association of nurseries which encourages the exchange, evaluation and marketing of new varieties in the world’s major production areas.

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Lycia®CIVNB557* and Sibilla*: two CIV strawberries that make the difference in Italy

Lycia®CIVNB557* and Sibilla*: two CIV strawberries that make the difference in Italy

Although the south of Italy is home to the largest areas (Caserta and Policorese) for the country’s strawberry cultivation, Romagna, the historical cradle of Italian strawberry cultivation, remains essential for the cultivation of high-chill June bearer varieties.

The CIV breeding nursery (Consorzio Italiano Vivaisti), which has always been a leader in the development of varieties in this category, is delighted with the success of its Lycia® CIVNB557* and Sibilla*, as testified by two producers from Cesena.

Loris Benvenuti, who has long been growing CIV varieties and has closely followed the Lycia® CIVNB557* variety since its early stages of development, reports his extremely positive experience of the current harvest.

“In general, as far as the characteristics of the plant are concerned, Lycia® CIVNB557* differs from the traditional June bearer varieties for northern Italy due to its compact habitus. In fact, the plant has a semi-erect habit that facilitates production both in open field and tunnels. Moreover, like many varieties of CIV, it is characterized by an excellent rusticity of the plant and tolerance to powdery mildew and fungal diseases, which allow its cultivation even in tired soils, like mine, where strawberry monoculture has been repeated for over twenty years.”

As for ripening, “in terms of precocity, the harvest begins eight to ten days after Clery* (start of harvest: 5-6 April). One of the great advantages of Lycia® CIVNB557* is undoubtedly the wide harvesting window, i.e. a long on-plant ripe life of the fruit, which does not deteriorate quickly if not harvested promptly. In addition, the wide harvesting window and the short fruit stem make harvesting easier, less expensive and more manageable, allowing the plant to accumulate more sugar in the fruit, which becomes sweeter and remains crunchy. To give a practical indication, in my company we harvest every 3-4 days on average. Lycia® CIVNB557 can be harvested without problems even on the fifth or even sixth day since the previous harvest.”

Regarding the characteristics of the fruit, Benvenuti said, “The sweetness and taste are good even when the variety is harvested for business needs not fully ripe. Instead, when harvested at the physiologically correct time, Lycia® CIVNB557* develops an excellent taste with a sugar degree that on average is between 8 and 9 degrees Brix. Both the elongated shape and the high flesh firmness remind some traits of strawberries cultivated in Southern Italy. Finally, the high flesh firmness allows the fruit to be marketed without it being easily damaged. The colour of the fruit is bright red and never reaches, even in late harvests, dark colours.”

Benvenuti concludes by describing some aspects of commercial relevance: “The variety is suitable for both cultivation in tunnels and open field. In terms of production, to date, May 12th, production is around 800 g per plant in a tunnel and I am confident that the kg/plant ratio can be exceeded. The shape and flesh firmness, recalling the typical characteristics of low-chill varieties (cultivated in southern Europe) that have captivated Italian consumers for years, and the high organoleptic properties of the fruit will allow Lycia® CIVNB557* to enter a premium segment in the variety scene of northern Italy.”

The second testimony comes from producer Antonio Benzi, who has been growing the Sibilla variety for several seasons now. “The increasingly unpredictable and highly variable climate this year has fortunately not caused any problems. Many producers are looking for precocity, but for me the strawberry comes in May. Sibilla, which is certainly not among the earliest varieties, in my area has an open-field flowering time that starts in mid-April, when the risk of late heavy frosts is relatively low. In fact, this year the late frost events that we had in spring did not cause problems for Sibilla, which still had close swollen flower buds just before the opening phase.”

Moving on to the issue of productivity, Benzi said, “Despite the medium-to-late harvest, as of May 12th, the quantities harvested in the first stages were very generous, guaranteeing 800 grams of fruit for plants cultivated under tunnels and about 150-200 grams for those in open field. This fact demonstrates the high production potential of this variety. For those who want to anticipate the ripening of the fruit, it is sufficient to use new plastic film, therefore clean, and non-woven fabric in the winter period.”

As for the characteristics of the fruit, Benzi said, “Sibilla possesses an aesthetically very attractive fruit, conical elongated, regular and good-sized, of red-brilliant colour with a nice coloured flesh inside, very consistent with skin resistant even to rain, which can damage the fruit in field crops.” In commercial terms, “the taste is very good and sweet, even in non-red (not yet ripe) fruit. This fact makes it possible to anticipate the harvest should the company need it, without compromising the quality of the fruit. However, when fully ripened, Sibilla can reach 7.5-8 degrees Brix. The essential aspect is certainly the aesthetic one. The regular shape and appearance of the fruit are exceptional on any other variety. This can be verified by comparing a top-quality fruit box of Sibilla with any other variety. Moreover, the exceptional shelf-life allows easy processing in the packing warehouse and subsequent exportation even in distant foreign markets.”

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Fresón de Palos launches “Sustainable Strawberry” brand

Fresón de Palos launches “Sustainable Strawberry” brand

Fresón de Palos’ 2020 campaign got off to a normal start, with hopes of exceeding eighty million kilos. Among the novelties of the leading Spanish strawberry company based in Huelva, is the launch of “Sustainable Strawberry”, the brand that will be used for marketing its berries in a biodegradable container, thus reinforcing the cooperative’s commitment to the environment. In terms of infrastructure, Fresón de Palos will inaugurate this year a new storage centre, thus responding to the increase in volumes and the new formats that it will introduce to the entire range of berries.

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Fortuna strawberry still dominates in Huelva

Fortuna strawberry still dominates in Huelva

 

The Fortuna strawberry variety continues to dominate production of the fruit in Huelva, Spain. A study by IFAPA shows that the very early Fortuna variety accounts for 39.4% of the plants transplanted from nurseries (compared to 37% in the previous campaign). The second most implanted variety is the Rociera, which has expanded very rapidly in the last campaigns, reaching 26% of strawberry plants in 2018/19. Rociera is also an early variety and offers high yields as well as good Brix and fruit firmness.

The third place is occupied by the Victory variety (10.5%), slightly down from last season (11.8%). In fourth and fifth places are Rabida (6.8%) and Primoris (4.1%). This last variety has declined a lot in recent years, despite presenting a medium-high firmness and a very high level of Brix, although much of its production is in the second commercial category.

 

Source: Consejeria de Agricultura Junta de Almeria

 

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Consumer dissatisfaction leads to slump in Italy’s strawberry sales

https://www.eurofresh-distribution.com/news/consumer-dissatisfaction-leads-slump-italys-strawberry-sales

In the past five years, strawberry consumption in Italy has slumped by around 3,000 tons, due mainly to consumer dissatisfaction. According to a study by Agroter’s Fruit and Vegetables Monitor, it emerges that 72% were not satisfied with the last purchase of strawberries. Of these, 27% have never found strawberries they liked. Italians feel that the taste of strawberries has deteriorated in recent years – 54% of those interviewed stated that the taste of the strawberries they bought worsened and for 9% this was definitely worse.

Source: Italiafruit.net

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Spanish strawberry production area expands 3.5%

Spanish strawberry production area expands 3.5%

Spain’s strawberry production area increased by 3.5% in 2018, from 5,890 hectares to 6,095. The country’s 2017/18 campaign ended with a production of 280,300 tons, 8% less than twelve months earlier, while the production of other berries increased, blueberries (+15%), raspberries (+2%) and blackberries (+8%). Next week, representatives of the Spanish, Italian and French strawberry sectors will meet to review last season and discuss the campaign ahead. Among the objectives of the meeting, as recently announced by the new coordinator of the Product Committee of Oi Ortofrutta Italia, Pietro Ciardiello, is the enhancement of the Italian strawberry from a qualitative and ethical point of view, focusing on healthiness and sustainability. Moreover, actions are being sought against counterfeits and illegal forms of origin labelling.

Source: Italiafruit News

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German strawberry prices fall to €2/kg by end of May

FRESA ALEMANIA

The beginning of May saw the first early varieties of strawberry appear on the shelves at a market price of €4.52/kg. Despite the lack of rain, the ripeness and quality of the fruit turned out to be very good due to the mostly favourable weather conditions. By the middle of the month, supplies were strong, resulting in a fall in price to €3/kg. However, the cool start to May dampened demand and, with harvest delayed, the flow of goods slowed down, which put pressure on the market and prices fell to €2.00/kg.

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Dutch strawberry growers aim to vanquish the Spanish

fresas holandesas

Dutch greenhouse strawberry growers are looking to usurp the current king of the supermarkets – the Spanish strawberry. Around a dozen large-scale strawberry farms are already working to produce strawberries under glass. At present, about 75% of all strawberries in the Netherlands grow in the open, but this may not be the case for much longer. The Dutch Berries production company is just one of the firms building mega-greenhouses. Others including Beekers Berries, Diepstraten, Kwekerij Van Oers, Brookberries, Van Gennip Kwekerijen, Dutch Berries and Royal Berry are also investing in this method of cultivation, which would allow producers to harvest quality strawberries throughout the year and replace Spanish production.

There has been a marked structural change in the Dutch strawberry sector, with a shift towards fewer, large-scale producers using greenhouse technology. Between 2006 and 2017, there was an increase in volumes produced, but the number of the country’s strawberry growers fell from 830 to 450. These larger firms are better placed to make the sizeable investments required to convert to greenhouse production – the new installation of Dutch Berries cost almost €40 million.

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Spanish strawberry prices plummet

Strawberry prices

The weather conditions during Easter Week have been very favourable for berry production. Maximum temperatures and solar radiation have increased, while the absence of rain has reduced humidity levels. This has allowed far greater harvesting during the last week, leading to strawberry supplies surging in Week 13. However, the closure of markets during holidays led to an accumulation of fruit and a consequent fall in prices.

The average price received by the farmer in Week twelve for packed strawberries remained stable at €1.53/kg; but in Week 13 (Easter Week), the average price plunged to €1.18/kg.