Italy is not a prominent producer of plums, with slightly less than 200,000 metric tons annually, which is about 6-7% of European production and under 2% of world production. In recent years the European plum has continued to decrease in importance as Japanese plum has increased: the latter now accounts for 75% of total plum production.
There are several reasons for weak growth in plum production in Italy: the presence of the Sharka virus which has a serious impact on many cultivars, the high susceptibility of Californian varieties of Japanese plum to bacterial diseases that are difficult to treat, and the lack of innovation in terms of new varieties of European plum (the most commonly planted varieties are still Stanley and President).
One more than minor reason for the poor growth of plum cultivation is the low quality of fruit available in the fresh market, which is more a problem related to incorrect harvest timing, too early, rather than objective qualitative limits of the varieties.
The large size of most of the modern Japanese plums tends to encourage growers to harvest according to fruit size rather than degree of ripeness, and fruit available to the consumer are often of mediocre, if not downright unpleasant, flavour.