Agriculture is losing ground in Italy. With overbuilding advancing at very fast rates, it is estimated that 70 hectares per day could be lost in the next twenty years. Indeed the primary sector has lost nearly 2 million hectares in the last ten years: an area equivalent in size to the entire Italian region Veneto.
On 24th August, during a discussion of a draft bill against uncontrolled use of land for non-agricultural purposes presented by Minister of Agriculture Mario Catania, the CIA (Italian Farmers’ Confederation) warned that losing agricultural land means an increased dependence on food from abroad. They also stated that it undermines a landscape and rural heritage that is worth 10 billion euros a year.
The CIA remarked that food self-sufficiency in Italy directly depends on the extension of cultivated areas. Currently, it satisfies the demand for food of three out of four people. However, at this rate, the removal of agricultural land is likely to significantly increase dependence on other countries, and result in having to resort to further imports to cover food deficit. On the one hand, there is a growing demand for food, while, on the other hand, cultivated land is decreasing. This is a contradiction, as CIA stated, which should be faced both nationally and globally, considering that, according to FAO and OECD estimates, it will be necessary to increase agricultural production by 60% in 40 years to feed 9 billion people in 2050.
President of CIA, Giuseppe Politi, said that “a new focus on territory is therefore crucial for environmental but also for food reasons” and added that “the bill proposed by Minister Catania can finally turn the page and fill an important gap. In fact, in Italy, a real territorial policy has been missing for years. Landslides and floods are a danger, especially in marginal areas of hills and mountains. Little has been done to avoid abandonment by farmers, who have a key role not only in food production but also in defense of the territory.”
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