Italy’s VivaiFiori certification scheme gains momentum

Author: Ron van der Ploeg

ROME, Italy:  On 11 December 2020, a specialist grower group of ANVE, Italy’s  National Association of Nursery Stock Exporters, in cooperation with the country’s national association for agronomists CONAF and certification body Certiquality held a webinar, designed to explain how the VivaiFiori eco label is progressing.  

VivaiFiori is the Italian ornamental plant and flower producers’ certification scheme. Formed five years ago, with the world expo Milan Expo 2015 hosting its launch event, the programme aims to raise the standards in ornamental horticulture in Italy. The VivaiFiori eco label also seeks to reduce the grower’s impact on the environment and manage resources sustainably. Wholly owned by the growers, the scheme was developed and implemented with the support of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture (MIPAAF) and the farmers’ research centre ISMEA.

VivaiFiori recently announced the results of its election of board members. The newly elected members include President Marco Cappellini (who also chairs Italy’s National Association of Nursery Stock Exporters ANVE), Vice-Presidents Jean Mark Orecchioni (AICG) and Paolo Vettoretto (Florveneto), and board members Roberto Magni (Distritto Altolombardo), Daria Bosio (AIPV), Enrico Leva (Asproflor), and Francesco Bet (Florasi’).

Leading VivaiFiori’s secretariat are Edoardo Sciutti and Maurizia Castellari. At the same time, the newly created technical committee will provide members with clear professional guidance on national and international standards that are relevant to the horticultural businesses and offer access to industry experts to provide advice on technical matters.

First speaker, Renato Ferretti, editor of horticultural media outlet Linea Verde and member   of the Italian association for agronomist CONAF talked about the importance of a quality  mark for Italian grown ornamentals and how it can help growers and their assured products help gaining wider access on foreign markets. Standards of the VivaiFiori certification scheme contain combined guarantees of consistent quality, plant health safety, and care for the environment. As such, Ferretti said, it perfectly fits within the EU recovery plan, Next Generation EU. Complementing national efforts, the Next Generation EU programme is designed to power a fair socio-economic recovery, repair and revitalise the Ssingle Market, to guarantee a level playing field, and support the urgent investments, in particular in the green and digital transitions, which the EU says hold the key to Europe’s future prosperity and resilience.

Giulio Lotti, CONAF President in the Province of Pistoia, saw the VivaiFiori certification scheme as a tribute to Pistoia, Italy’s heartland of nursery stock relying and a tool to protect the reputation it has built up abroad over many decades.

VivaiFiori President Marco Cappellini provided a comprehensive timeline of the trademark, from its inception by growers, the valuable support of the Italian ministry of agriculture to the scheme’s new organisational structure  Cappellini went on to describe the quality mark’s segments in which it is operating: commercial production, garden retail and landscaping. He also set out VivaiFiori’s growth ambitions, saying that an accredited certification body, the quality’s mark official registration and expansion of its membership base is all work in progress .

Gianni Cramarossa, Area Manager of the external certification body Certiquality, talked about the excellent collaboration between the scheme’s different stakeholders, characterised by an open dialogue.

VivaiFiori Secretary Edoardo Sciutti specified the VivaiFiori standards, explaining to technicians, agronomists and growers the ins and outs of the checklist which is divided into several macro sections:

– Pesticides and Chemicals, Environmental Protection, Cultivation and Phytosanitary Hygiene for the module “Producers”.

– Plant Production and Sales Systems and Management Systems for Commercial Areas, for the “Garden Centres” module.

– Pre-verification documents for the “Green Caretakers” module.

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