"80% of European basil supplies currently come from Kenya, a leading country for the winter market. The produce arrives via chilled air cargo, so deliveries are guaranteed within half a day. Then there are also other producer countries such as Israel, which though delivers the produce at a higher price, and Morocco, whose produce is cheaper though the quality is not as good," explains Luigi D'Aniello, manager at Ludan Fresh Supplies di Eboli (Salerno).

European basil markets and Italy
"The summer basil campaign in Italy did not start very well due to the humid and rainy weather in mid-March/early April, which is when sowing is carried out. Many early sowing operations failed, so producers were forced to perform them again. Harvesting started in June, which was a very pleasing month in both productive and commercial terms as prices and demand were good, yields were excellent, and good quantities were sold," reports the entrepreneur.

"The situation, however, changed in early July when, due to the high temperatures, production slowed down, especially in greenhouses, also because we must remember that basil grown in open fields is destined for the processing industry. So the situation is now as follows: supply is low while the market demands basil."

"As for the other aromatic herbs destined for the fresh market, the situation is rather difficult in terms of both production and commercialization because northern European countries have their local produce available and because the German produce is flooding the European market. Italy is more competitive when it comes to quality for smooth parsley, sage, thyme, and rosemary, which are destined mainly for the Netherlands. The most popular herb on the European market is coriander, but Italy does not manage to meet demand due to the excessive summer temperatures that damage the produce."