This is not an easy period for fruit sorter manufacturers. Between the cost of raw materials, the difficulty in sourcing materials and components, Covid and the war, there is not a moment of truce. FreshPlaza has talked about it with Omar Papi, manager of Cesena Futura srl.
FreshPlaza (FP) How has the foreign market been affected by the war over the first 5 months of 2022?
Omar Papi (OP): For companies that, like ours, export most of their production outside of the EU, for example to Central Asia, the current situation is very problematic. After the two years of the pandemic and various limitations to movements, we hoped 2022 would be calmer. The global economic situation is instead affected by the war between Russia and Ukraine. For us, the Russian market has halted: although the customs code of our products would enable us to export, there are many difficulties also when it comes to payments, as numerous banks have stopped providing their services to the country. Many of our clients have decided to postpone their investments until the situation will be more stable and clear. At the same time, the world does not stop - we only need to be patient and hope a solution will be found in the shortest time possible.
Omar Papi at the recent Macfrut fair
FP: What's the situation when it comes to raw materials and prices?
OP: I have never experienced anything like it: we continue receiving new price lists from our suppliers, which is making the economic management of orders very difficult. Having said that, however, Futura has decided to "help" our clients by adopting a "fixed price" policy, thus bearing most of the increases in the cost of raw materials.
FP: Are the electronic components available?
OP: This is another "sore point" but, luckily, thanks to our stocks of all the most important materials, we should be covered for all the lines to be delivered until November 2022.
FP: How were the fairs you attended recently?
OP: Since November 2021, we started attending all the fairs we used to take part in. We were at Krasnodar Russia, Almaty Kazakhstan and, in 2022, we have already attended Uzfood in Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Fruit Logistica in Berlino and Macfrut in Rimini. Over the next few months, you will find us at Agro Tech Mash Expo on May 25th-27th 2022 in Tashkent - Uzbekistan and at Fruit Attraction on October 4th-6th in Madrid. They went well, though there were fewer visitors, especially at Fruit Logistica. Macfrut was rather positive, especially for the Italian market.
FP: Where have you assembled the latest line?
OP: Most of the deliveries during the first four months of 2022 were in Spain for the processing of peaches, in South Africa for citrus fruit and in Kenya for avocadoes. There were also deliveries to southern Italy for summer fruits such as apricots and peaches.
FP: How is the new facility in Campania going?
OP: Our new facility in Battipaglia (Salerno), in addition to dealing with normal commercial, installation and after-sales activities, also "revamps" existing systems, especially by installing our new electronic systems for the management of graders. This service is much appreciated by our clients, as they can still make the most of their dated systems with a modest investment.