The Covid pandemic has presented table grape producers with a unique set of challenges over the past 18 months, not least how to cope with disruptions to logistics supply chains that have often added many extra days to transit and storage times.
But the biggest ongoing threat they face is climate change, specifically, how to ensure that the significant investments they make each season are not wiped out by an unforeseen weather event.
Puglia-based Serroplast, provides a suite of technical solutions for grape growers around the world, including protective nets and canopies, packaging films and a range of vineyard accessories.
“Nowadays agriculture needs to be viewed as a full complex machine in which all the components have to work properly and simultaneously. Serroplast works as a whole service provider in order to drastically reduce the risks associated with climate change that all table grapes growers are facing,” says the company’s new market developer, Giuseppe Borracci.
“As an example we are seeing high demand of our protection systems in all the South American producers, such as Chile, Peru and Brazil because growers see in Serroplast a partner with a huge amount of knowledge who can equip them with the right tools to produce a consistently good harvest.”
All this knowledge is shared with the technical team of each producer company, enabling them to choose the most appropriate structures and plastic films for each territory and grape variety.
“By reducing agronomic problems in the field and at post-harvest, we can ensure that to ensure that high quality grapes arrive at their final destination in good condition and with an optimum shelf-life, even if they’ve had to face a longer-than-usual transit,” Borracci says.
Investing in covers for large-scale production requires a significant financial undertaking, and to help growers achieve the best results within the shortest time frame, Serroplast first works with the grower to create a pilot field test in order to accurately measure all the data before committing to an extensive investment.
“After this stage we are closely involved with the roll out of the project so that we can be sure that all the advantage are scaled up. As each project is different, we closely analyse each step of the process to ensure a faster payback for the grower,” Borracci continues.
Sustainability is always uppermost in Serroplast’s mind, with all solutions designed to help the producer to cut water usage and reduce – or even eliminate – the need for pesticides. Moreover, all of the company’s covers are made from recyclable plastic, and in each case it aims to use the least possible plastic while allowing growers to achieve the same results.
Most recently, the company launched a plastic film that offers more uniform levels protection to leaves and fruit. “This means that buds grow more rapidly, allowing producers to achieve a more constant production volume year after year,” says Borracci. “By allowing the correct amount of light to reach the plant we can get a better balance between sugar, colour and quantity of fruit.”