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ADUC – Health – Article

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ADUC – Health – Article
It seems that Italy is a nation of peasants. It seems in the sense that it appears so. Italy is narrated as the homeland of spaghetti, tomato, oil and wine as identity as well as economic excellence. Maybe it’s a bubble, granted the right measure of things. Italy’s agricultural GDP is worth around 42 billion euros in 2022, down on the previous year.
In other words, it is worth about 2.2% of the total wealth produced. However, a theoretical-accounting trick brings together the agricultural sector with the entire food system, including in this accounting the entire value production chain, from the field to the restaurant industry. In this way, it is recorded that the agri-food system produces more than 522 billion euros,
thus allowing us to say that it represents 15% of the national GDP. More than tourism, which is worth about 13%. The agri-food sector is a national pride, as they say now, both for the boast and for the national one, because this sectoral GDP places it in first place in Europe for added value. Another catch to untangle concerns the number of farms in Italy. The definitions of firm and business, in agriculture, do not coincide, the former being the set of production factors, organized and managed by the latter. The distinction is subtle, for insiders, but a source of uncertainty as to how many entrepreneurs there are, so to speak, “real”, distinct from those who are simply owners of a piece of land. To simplify, the official data tell us that, from a structural point of view, there are 1.5 million farms, of which 27% market oriented with 75% of production, against 66% of the total of which 36% % has only occasional commercial relationships and 30% for self-consumption. As if to say that there are around 400,000 real agricultural enterprises and not one and a half million. Still with reference to the data available, there are just over 100,000 businesses run by young people under the age of forty. In short, to be honest, Italian farmers are few, but still excellent, if only for the ability to stay and cultivate the land, after so many have left.
There is true agro-national excellence, and it straddles agriculture and tourism: wine tourism alone is worth around 2.5 billion euros (they say, because estimates are difficult, but the figure is credible). However, a comparison can be useful to understand its size. Giorgio Armani has a turnover of around 6 billion and his elegance alone is worth more than double the wine tourism. However, wine tourism beats the Dolce & Gabbana duo, which has a turnover of only 1.5 billion. Not Prada which is worth 3.37 billion. These numbers show that the agricultural sector is in good health, but that it is doing well only because it is accounted for together with the agri-food industry and because it is the subject of great narratives. Incidentally, Ferrero alone has a turnover of 14 billion euros in food, certainly not using exclusively national materials, on the contrary. And yet, there is a common feeling in the air that Italy is a country, a nation, founded on the wealth produced by agriculture. How come? There may be a small explanation.
An agricultural union has been thriving for decades and still manages to exercise its own cultural hegemony by always being on the side of the government on duty. Coldiretti was founded by Paolo Bonomi on 30 October 1944 as a union of small agricultural entrepreneurs. It was then governed for many years by Christian Democrats, the best known of whom, Arcangelo Lobianco, was also Minister of Agriculture. When it could, whenever it could, Italy’s main agricultural association claimed to be a reservoir of 4 million votes (DC). It was in fact a current of thought substantiated in a current of the hegemonic party. Today, perhaps, it is a little different, given that the hegemonic party varies from time to time. But the substance does not change. The current president of Coldiretti, Ettore Prandini, is the son of the former Brescia minister of the Christian Democrats during the years of the Pentaparty. So, voila: from a party current, Coldiretti has turned into a media current erga omnes while remaining itself. The press releases that come out of his research offices talk about everything, obviously revolving around agricultural facts. Do you want to know from TG1 how many tourists are arriving in Italy? How many go skiing, how many to the sea, abroad, how much do they pay for the hotel and so on? Inevitably, the Tele-newsletter mentions Coldiretti. Do you want to know what Italians eat? Coldiretti tells us. Do you want to know how the traffic goes in the black dot days? Do you want to know how many follow the Christmas Mass in streaming? Do you want to know if the Nutriscore is good or is it a perfidious maneuver by European bureaucrats? The source is always the same, Coldiretti.
And where is the problem? There would be no problem if Coldiretti agreed to be defined as a lobby, an organization that defends the legitimate interests of one party with its own narrative. In 2012, under the Monti government, Mario Catania tried again, as Minister of Agriculture, to establish the obligation for agricultural lobbyists to register in a public list. Clear was the opposition of Coldiretti, together with that of the other two agricultural organizations, CIA and Confagricoltura. The provision was aborted and was never revived. Coldiretti, on the other hand, never dies.

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