Production of red-fleshed oranges in Sicily could change significantly over the next few years, with plans afoot to introduce tighter specifications for growers and to make new and better-performing clones of existing varieties available to producers.
The consortium responsible for promoting Sicily’s PGI-certified red oranges has formed a new technical committee that will identify areas in which growers can improve their production and increase its market value.
“We are at the beginning and we are evaluating the details of what variations to our programme could kick-start the process of change,” explained Cinzia Oliveri, a board member at the Consorzio di Tutela Arancia Rossa di Sicilia IGP.
Central to the group’s plan is the introduction of new clones of its three flagship varieties Moro, Tarocco and Sanguinello.
“Some of these will need to be removed because they are obsolete, while at the same new ones will be introduced that have achieved good results in trials during the last few years – either by showing good colouration or a high level of anthocyanins,” Oliveri added.
The new committee is also expected to look at ways of speeding up the development of those new clones, as well as removing areas of production that have been neglected and abandoned in recent years.
Giovanni Selvaggi, president of the PGI consortium, said he was honoured to take charge of the new committee, welcoming the opportunity for it to change the way in which Sicily’s red oranges are produced.
“In front of me are the leading experts in our sector, who know the difficulties faced by producers and the efforts they make, while at the same time being aware of how necessary it is to adapt to the needs of the market.” Selvaggi commented.
“The new specifications will drive forward the region and its knowledge of our product’s unique qualities,” he added.