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  • Great potential for chestnuts

    Sep 29th, 2016

    Either the Italian chestnut production becomes more modern and professional, or it will disappear in the next few years and chestnuts will have to be imported.Elvio Bellini, President of the Centro di studio sul castagno in Marradi, reports that, "imports have more than doubled since 2010. Our markets are filled with produce from Spain, Portugal, China and Turkey. In 2015, we produced 32,200 tons of chestnuts while, between 2000 and 2007, we used to produce 53 thousand on average. Our chestnut woods are very old, they date back to Medieval times. I am not kidding, the trees derive from the first ones planted by monks int the XII-XV centuries."The main production areas in Italy are Campania (18 thousand tons) and Calabria (10 thousand tons) followed by Lazio (9500), Piedmont (6000) and Tuscany (5500).Chestnuts could become the main source of income in the Apennine region. In 2014, imports exceeded 38 thousand tons, for a total value of €93 million (Ismea data). It was unheard of, as volumes imported were only 17 thousand in 2012 and 32 thousand in 2013.The average import price was €2.44/kg, 14% more than 2013. Quantities increased by 18% with respect to 2013, and imports have more than doubled since 2012 (+116%).