Pistachio production and consumption have strongly increased in the last years due to its capability to grow under limiting conditions, the profitability of this nut in the market and its well claimed healthy properties. The Sicilian pistachio industry is diminutive in comparison to big producing countries such as California and Iran. Its economical profitability is limited by a low productivity per surface area, strong alternate bearing, and long unproductive period, mainly associated with the lack of implementation of innovative management practices. This “traditional” agricultural system is surviving in a highly competitive international market thanks to the unique organoleptic profile of the sicilian nuts characterized by an intense green color, highly appreciated by processing industries and highly paid by the consumers. Improved management practices should be applied to renovate the Sicilian Pistachio industry and to increase the profitability of these farming systems. In particular, rainfed orchards should be converted to irrigation to increase the yield and mitigate alternate bearing. Considering the small volumes of water available in the areas where this crop is cultivated, irrigation should be managed carefully, implementing plant-based water management protocols to achieve maximum water productivity. New rootstocks should be used in future plantations, such as the new hybrids of P. Atlantica x P. integerrima, in order to improve production, to resist Veriticullum and to decrease the long unproductive period. Finally, modern post-harvest drying techniques should be implemented to reduce safety risks associated with aflatoxin contaminations without changing the organoleptic and nutritional properties of the nuts. The aim of this review is to highlight the next steps towards the implementation of few innovative horticultural management practices in the Sicilian pistachio orchard systems. We also discuss how these changes would be beneficial at farm level, increasing the economic gains of existing growers, and, from a wider perspective, the potential importance of an innovative and modern pistachio production framework for the agricultural economy of the inland territory of Sicily.
|Numero di pagine||13|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2019|
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