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San Benedetto del Tronto, a lively district just 5 years old


San Benedetto del Tronto, a lively district just 5 years old Rome - (Adnkronos Multimedia) An overall area of 341 sq km, encompassing 26 communes, equal to 23% of the entire Province of Ascoli and 5% of the Marches Region. This is the agro-industrial zone of San Benedetto del Tronto, created in 1998 following a decision by the Marches Regional Council. An area with 6,500 agricultural firms (equal to one-third of the whole provincial total and to 10% of the region); 400 firms handling processing in the fish and agro-industrial sectors; 2,200 employees and an annual turnover of 700 million euro.
The district has an Executive and Coordinating Committee called the Co.I.Co. composed of 15 members, seven of whom form the presidential committee, presided by Leo Bollettini, the owner of one of the firms in the district dealing with fruit and vegetable exports. Bollettini is also the vice president of ANEIOA (National Association of Exporters and Importers of Vegetables and Fruit and Citrus Products).55 organisations take part in Co.I.Co., including local groups, economic bodies, trade associations , professional groups, trade unions, servicing firms, schools, universities and credit institutions.
But this is not all. 40% of the 400 food processing firms in the San Benedetto del Tronto district consist of firms in the deep-freeze sector, covering 65-70% of the national market for frozen fish products and 15-20% from the frozen fruit and vegetable sector.
Around 7000 firms, therefore, mostly small-and medium-size businesses, heirs to the long artisan tradition of the area and 26 communes, many of which are specialised in various lines of production: San Benedetto del Tronto, Acquaviva, Monteprandone and Grottamare, all devoted to fish; Campofilone with its high concentration of pasta factories; Cupra Marittima with its production of parts for ovens and refrigerators; Offida, Ripatransone and Montalto for wine production; Peritoli for the preparation of meat and similar goods. For the greater part, the firms are family businesses and also have a presence on international markets. San Benedetto del Tronto "is one of the agro-alimentary districts that above all has been organised" - explained Bollettini, the president of Co.I.Co. - "with three main areas: fish, wine and fruit and vegetables". The fruit and vegetable area, divided into fresh and frozen, "has seen the creation - Bollettini continued - "in the fresh food sector, of an organisation of producers, the F.I.O.P, the first shareholder consortium in Italy that has an annual trend of 60% growth and a turnover which has reached 20 million euro over a three-year period. Still in the fruit and vegetable sector, another consortium with limited liability has been created, "I frutti dei Piceni" (Piceni fruits). Consortia - as the president of Co.I.Co. went on to explain - really work, as compared with cooperatives that have little future because there is always a difficulty in balancing medium and long-term objectives. In a consortium, instead, the promoting group always keeps to its aims."
In the frozen food sector, despite a strong crisis in the area, there is a strong local production of peas and green beans. In the area of fresh produce, the cauliflower represents the main production not only in the district, but over the whole of the Marches Region. The wine industry is also very robust, and has registered a 50% growth in the production of bottles, as opposed to past years when grapes and must produced in the area were distributed to other regions to provide a "kick", to lighter wines, thanks to its high alcohol content. The referent association is Vinea di Affida. Finally, the fish sector has suffered a certain decline in activities in the San Benedetto port, which before ranked second in Italy, coming after Mazara del Vallo. Although the Sicilian port is still in first place for the distribution of fresh fish, San Benedetto has achieved a primary position with regard to frozen fish production. It is for this reason that Dalmare, an organisation of producers and shipowners, has been created so as to guarantee a single brand.
"A district in growth" - Bollettini concluded - "despite the fact that it has been struck by a crisis in the frozen food sector, in contrast with the national situation".

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