After a 20-25 day unexpected delay due to the bad weather at the start of the year, OP Giaccio Frutta from Caserta is finally harvesting strawberries. "Quality is excellent and prices are good - €2.70-3.00," explains Antonio Giaccio.
Although only 15-20% of the produce is sent abroad, Giaccio reveals that it sells well, especially in Germany. "Demand for our strawberries is good, especially for those not already in punnets. Compared to last year, prices are more profitable for producers, but sales and demand are similar. We are aiming at improving in Italy, where our produce is sold by retailers (90%) and markets (10%).
One thing Giaccio noticed already last year, but mostly during this campaign, is that retailers are opting for 1 kg single-layer cardboard crates, 500 gram punnets and 2 kg packets.
Temperatures permitting, the strawberry campaign will continue until mid-June. "The delay at the start of the season affected Spain and Greece too, so our productions may peak together. But the market could absorb all the fruit without many problems."
OP Giaccio is also collaborating with Sicily for early strawberry productions. "We are still working with a few companies from the Marsala area, whose campaign will continue until early May. The purpose is to start a little earlier, therefore extending the commercialisation calendar. We started with Sicilian strawberries in December 2016."