Oranfrizer in Sicily is experimenting with innovative technologies intended at enhancing the quality of fruit, generating stronger plants, optimising the resources utilised, and preserving the environment, in keeping with the Unifrutti Group’s sustainable development plans. Precision farming begins with the collection of data from satellites, drones, and field measurements to track soil and water requirements, tree health, soil, air, and leaf wetness, wind and light intensity, and adverse climatic conditions. Agronomists can utilise the data collected and analysed by specialised software to intervene more meticulously in the administration of citrus groves and the quality of the fruit, improve the use of water and fertilisers, and reduce waste as much as possible.
Because they are the result of integrated pest management, Oranfrizer’s citrus fruits have been totally edible, including the skin, for many years. Pesticide use limitations required by law are scrupulously followed in the field and after harvesting, with very low levels of residue on the produce (below 70 percent of the limit imposed by law). With these new precision agricultural approaches, the level of control will arise. Oranfrizer’s testing, which began in 2019 and cover roughly thirty hectares of crops on the slopes of the Etna volcano in Eastern Sicily, are still underway. Oranges, particularly red oranges, are one of the principal fruits of the Oranfrizer initiative. Tarocco Ippolito, Sciara, and Scirè blood oranges, Navelina, Navel Powel, and Lane Late blonde oranges, as well as lemons, mandarins, and pomegranates, were among the crops that were studied.
The company’s commitment to the environment continues throughout the manufacturing process, including in the packaging plant in Scordia, in the Plain of Catania, which has been 30 per cent solar-powered since 2017, and in the packaging, which is gradually changing its appearance, reducing the use of plastic in favour of paper. The first new products are already on the market, not only with the fruits, but also with the information and digital videos that have been shared with customers in recent weeks in the fruit and vegetable departments, where Oranfrizer has an ever-expanding basket of citrus fruits, vegetables, and juices. The distribution of a themed recipe book to provide suggestions on the use of citrus fruits, nutritious food that is recommended in the diet of both adults and children, is also part of the point-of-sale activities.
Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)