Princes unveils breakthrough partnership with Coldiretti for Italian farmers

19 Feb 2019

International food and drink group Princes has announced a partnership with Italian agricultural organisation Coldiretti to mark a definitive step forward in enhancing the ethical, environmental and economic value of the tomato supply chain in southern Italy.

Through the partnership, Princes will provide financial stability for growers through guaranteed three-year supply contracts, while ensuring that the pricing of tomatoes reflects the true costs of farming to enable the long-term sustainability of the industry.

Growers will also have access to unique grant and financing opportunities as part of the agreement.

The partnership was officially signed at a ceremony at Coldiretti’s head office in Rome on Tuesday, attended by Jill Morris CMG, the British Ambassador to Italy.

As part of the commitment, farmers will also be obliged to implement cutting-edge agronomic technologies to reduce water consumption and the use of pesticides. Princes and Coldiretti hope this will result in higher environmental standards across the industry.

The partnership also includes a commitment by Coldiretti farmers to develop and participate in Blockchain digital traceability technology to monitor and protect workers’ safety rights throughout the supply chain.

Additionally, Coldiretti will provide official transport for seasonal agricultural workers for signatory farms, and maintain an annual training commitment that encompasses Environmental, Social and Economic sustainability.

The partnership marks the latest in a series of significant milestones for Princes in Italy.

Last year, the business announced that 100 percent of the tomatoes it processed from its Italian supply chain in 2018 came from farms with independent ethical accreditation through either Global GAP GRASP or SA8000 accreditation.

Princes Corporate Relations Director David McDiarmid said: “This partnership demonstrates our commitments to ensuring growers in our supply chain are economically, ethically and environmentally supported across southern Italy. We believe it can also enhance the reputation of the Italian tomato industry as a whole.

“With the support of Coldiretti, and other stakeholders we will continue to be active in our supply chain to improve and create better value for all involved, including farm workers. This agreement reflects the shared desire that exists for innovation and change to historical ways of working in the tomato supply chain.

Ms Jill Morris UK Ambassador to Italy said : The agreement is an excellent example of the UK and Italy working together to encourage prosperity in the agriculture sector, but also to promote an ethical approach to supply chains, ensuring that labourers are treated fairly across the business.”

Princes Italian products Commercial Director Neil Brownbill says “Since 2015, the business has built capacity and awareness amongst its suppliers to align with these initiatives, conducting over 4,000 in-field inspections of growers and farming cooperatives in its supply chain. Princes also has complete visibility of the movement of tomatoes during the annual harvest traceable through a GPS system installed on its trucks”

“Today we process in the region of 300,000 tonnes of fresh tomatoes annually from our Foggia facility, this includes all our Napolina brand portfolio as well as customer own brand products which align with our own ethical stance, which are then marketed and distributed across Europe.

We feel this initiative is another significant step forward in the enhancement of the Italian tomato supply chain and also the continued improvement in supply chain transparency will be a key driver in increasing stakeholder awareness and ultimate engagement in this process”.