As Italy’s import volume rises, leading kiwifruit marketer Jingold and Sicilian producer Spo Zentrum see an opportunity to grow and market avocados within the country itself

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A leading international kiwifruit marketer plans to establish 100ha of avocado production in Sicily and sell the fruit to customers across Italy.

Jingold, which supplies kiwifruit produced in Italy, Argentina and Chile to customers around the world, believes the new joint venture, called Agro Avo, can tap into growing demand for avocados among Italy’s almost 60m consumers.

With investment support from IDeA Agro, a private equity company specialised in Italian agriculture, Jingold will oversee the project in partnership with Sicilian fruit exporter Spo Zentrum.

“This initiative represents a significant step in our expansion and diversification strategy,” commented Alessandro Fornari, Jingold’s chief executive officer.

“Sicily offers an ideal environment for the development of this crop and collaborating with expert partners in the sector allows us to combine our skills and resources to maximise the success of this project.”

He added: “We are confident that the plant will have a positive impact both on the territory and on our society, and we look forward to offering our contribution in this collaboration.”

Italy’s avo appetite

Italy imported more than 101,000 tonnes of avocados in 2022, according to Eurostat. That was more than double the volume it imported in 2018, since when imports have grown steadily.

Spo Zentrum has around 450ha of mainly citrus production in Sicily. Giacomo Rizzo, the company’s CEO, said the new venture represented an “excellent opportunity” that would benefit the region’s economy.

“We believe that investing in avocado cultivation in Sicily offers Spo Zentrum an interesting opportunity to grow, promoting an even more diverse range of crops in its product portfolio, and giving the company a further source of profitability.”

Whether or not the avocados produced by Agro Avo will bear the Jingold brand, or another label, remains to be decided.