Calabrian chili boom

Consorzio Calabria: “Not even an unsold gram. The 2022 campaign is good but with drought, production decreases”

“The Calabrian chilli campaign went well this year, even if the first part of the season was marked by a severe drought, which led to a drop in production. What is certain is that the chilli has not been touched by the economic crisis that has affected other sectors in Italy. The Calabrian chilli pepper is in fact constantly growing both on the Italian and European markets. And today as a Consortium we don’t have a gram of hot pepper available and unsold in our headquarters. Everything was booked and sold. There is still some regret for the requests that have arrived and we have not been able to satisfy but it is also a reason for satisfaction to know that our product, despite the competition, is well appreciated by those who know it”. Thus, interviewed by Adnkronos/Labitalia, Pietro Serra, president of the ‘Consortium of Calabrian chilli producers’, takes stock of the production season of the consortium which has about 50 members who follow a particular production specification.

“This year – continues Serra – our consortium has produced chili peppers on 47-48 hectares, scattered throughout the region. They seem small numbers, but in reality they are large numbers because it is a periodic vegetable, and everything is completed in 4 months The production of hot peppers is demanding, reaching 10,000 quintals per year. These are the numbers of our member companies”. But the Calabrian production of hot peppers does not end there. “There is a large part of Calabrian companies and citizens who produce it in an amateur way. In Calabria everyone has a pepper plant”, underlines Serra.

But the way to make the Calabrian pepper grow more and more on the markets passes through the recognition of the PGI. “As a Consortium, we asked for PGI recognition. The practice was presented and forwarded by the Calabria Region and the Ministry to Brussels in November 2022, the technical times are usually 24 months”, recalls the president of the Consortium who was supported by CIA-farmers Italians in this ‘match’. And on the contrast to the drought that hit the crop this year, he concludes by emphasizing that “little can be done against disasters. It is certainly not true that chilli peppers need extreme heat, if the chilli reaches 40-45 degrees begins to block its growth. So the first thing that can be done is to strengthen the water lines through the action of the Reclamation Consortia”.