Hazelnuts: the busillis, as usual, lies in the price

Hazelnuts: the busillis, as usual, lies in the price

HAZELNUTS Difprice ferential: it is the expression that occurs most frequently, with regard to the market prices of the Tonda gentile, in the considerations of Fabio Canova, owner of La gentile di Cortemilia. Last year his shelling company withdrew twenty thousand quintals of hazelnuts; this year he is evaluating other origins: «We work from Rome and Naples. I can’t afford to keep 32 workers stationary ». The reason is simple: the unofficially rebounded prices after the Castagnole delle Lanze fair are too high: “I can’t buy Piedmont for eight euros the yield point (the coefficient obtained with samples thanks to which, imperfections, the usable product is determined, ed), when the harvest of Lazio is available for just over five euros and those of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey are also expected to be abundant ». The problem, according to the industrialist, is to overturn the surcharge on users, confectionery companies: “Last year, customers were not willing to pay 15 euros per kilo for our toasted hazelnuts, some chose Turkish ones: at this rate the Tonda gentile risks becoming suitable for niche products ».

The fear is to lose the volumes of the industry: «Small processors can absorb a maximum of thirty thousand quintals of harvest compared to a forecast of 180 thousand for the year ’22. The industry has the alternatives, we don’t ». Seven euros could be a truthful quotation: “We have to get over it, the confectionery companies will not offer more”. But “today even 7 and a half euro points are refused”. A dangerous dynamic because «the negotiations are done by December, afterwards, the interest of the buyers is no longer there. As far as I know, five thousand quintals of the 2021 harvest remained in the farms ».

The proveranother bell, remaining in Cortemilia, rings it Piergiorgio Mollea, managing director of Nocciole Marchisio, outlining a suspension framework, pending developments. “At the moment we have in our warehouse, in the two centers of Cherasco and Pocapaglia, a few thousand quintals of product, coming from Roero and Asti, areas where the harvest was anticipated: we have withdrawn them for cleaning operations but the goods have not been contracted. In the next few days we will propose our prices to customers and we will see the reactions ». The sheller does not hide the worries. Answers are awaited on the progress of the campaign in the Langa – the harvest is still in progress – but the feedback from the withdrawn lots is not comforting: «The drought has affected the formation of the fruit and there are many hazelnuts under size (small). It is a problem: the industry prefers medium-large sizes, like Piedmont in ordinary years, we do not have a clientele who can absorb products with these characteristics ».

Mollea does not shy away from price considerations, but uses caution: «We are aware of the higher costs incurred by operators, from the field to transformers and end users, but today the demand from buyers is very low. We operate in a context marked by great difficulties and an outsized price could have a boomerang effect that we cannot afford. The big buyers have not yet moved: we await their proposals and leave the last word to the market ».

Davide Gallesio

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