International food and drink group, Princes, has expanded a partnership established with Italian agricultural association, Coldiretti, to enhance the sustainability of its Napolina brand “100% Made in Italy” tomatoes.
Through the agreement with Coldiretti, which includes Oxfam Italy in an advisory capacity on human rights, a new framework has been developed to enhance the ethical, environmental and economic value of the Italian tomato supply chain. This framework will help support Coldiretti’s ongoing efforts to tackle Italian food fraud – a market worth more than €100 billion, more than twice the value of Italian food exports to the entire world.
The agreement involves a commitment from the Group’s Italian tomato processing facility, Princes Industrie Alimentari (PIA) – the home of Napolina tomatoes – to sign guaranteed three-year supply contracts to enhance financial stability for Coldiretti growers, and work with the University of Foggia to ensure that the pricing of tomatoes reflects the true costs of growing and harvesting to enable the long-term sustainability of the industry.
Through the partnership, Napolina and Coldiretti also want to drive innovation across the tomato supply chain through the implementation of agriculture 4.0 technologies, which will enhance environmental standards across the industry. This includes satellite surveys to monitor the development of crops and to tackle the impact of climate change, as well as precision control equipment to reduce the use of chemical fertilisers, herbicides, and non-biodegradable plastics, as well as waste and water management projects. Training will also be provided for farmers and technicians of partner farming cooperatives.
Andy Hargraves, Group Director for Italian Products, said: “Our 2019 initial partnership with Coldiretti was groundbreaking in itself but we have moved on further. The shared commitment with Coldiretti and our suppliers to maintain high environmental standards, reinforce ethical working practices and promote fair economic conditions is a significant step forward in protecting the future of the Italian tomato supply chain. There is no Italian tomato product on British shelves that has anything like the level of supply chain assurance behind Napolina.”
Napolina and PIA have taken various steps to enhance social sustainability across the tomato supply chain, investing in the protection of human rights to support the fight against exploitation practices, such as the ‘Caporale (gang-master) system. With the additional guidance of Oxfam Italy, the agreement will strengthen transparency, allowing Napolina to ensure a 100% ethical product, whilst also empowering agricultural cooperatives through monitoring processes, and fieldworker training on agronomic practices, regulatory compliance, good labour relations practices, as well as technology and safety support.
The agreement was officially signed this week at a ceremony in Rome, attended by the British Embassy.
Jill Morris, UK Ambassador, said: “Congratulations to Napolina and Princes for the renewal of their agreement with Coldiretti. The continuity of this agreement testifies the close and efficient collaboration between the UK and Italy in the agricultural sector and, more specifically, in the Italian tomato supply chain. This agreement honours both parties since it not only aims to promote the sector but guarantees fair working conditions and the respect of human rights in conformance with the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goal agenda.”
By renewing their agreement of 2019, PIA and Coldiretti remain committed to further enhancing the quality and reputation of Italian tomatoes and restoring competitiveness to a strategic sector for the recovery of the country. Italy represents 15% of global tomato production for a sector that is worth over €3.7 billion in turnover. Puglia alone contributes around 30% to the entire volume of Italian tomatoes and approximately 60% to volumes grown in Southern Italy.
At its Foggia plant – the largest industrial site in Europe – PIA processes around 200,000 tonnes of fresh tomatoes from the Apulian district annually and is supplied exclusively by producers who must hold Global G.A.P. GRASP or SA8000 certifications. In addition, all PIA’s tomato growers must be enrolled on the ‘Rete De Lavoro’, a Ministry of Labour public register of businesses fully compliant with labour and human rights legislation and transparent payment of wages.