New Law in Italy Establishes Role of Farmers in Protecting Environment

Along with protecting Italy’s natural landscapes and promoting the cultivation of traditional crops, the law seeks to curb the rural exodus with economic incentives.
Franciacorta, Italy
By Paolo DeAndreis
Feb. 26, 2024 16:47 UTC

A new law in Italy estab­lishes farm­ers and agri­cul­tural coop­er­a­tives as guardians of the land.

The leg­is­la­tion defines agri­cul­ture’s role in pro­tect­ing the envi­ron­ment, pro­mot­ing eco­nomic activ­i­ties in areas at risk of aban­don­ment and revers­ing the depop­u­la­tion of rural vil­lages.

According to the law, farm­ers are respon­si­ble for main­tain­ing agri­cul­tural land, which pro­tects against hydro­ge­o­log­i­cal risk, extreme weather events and wild­fires.

See Also:Italian Farmers, Producers Confirm Production Rebound

They are also deemed respon­si­ble for pro­mot­ing rural bio­di­ver­sity” to con­serve the nat­ural land­scape while adding value to local crops.

According to the new law, farm­ers com­bat bio­di­ver­sity loss by pro­tect­ing the habi­tats of bees and other pol­li­nat­ing insects, pro­mot­ing the growth of nec­tar and pollen-pro­duc­ing herba­ceous cover and hedges, trees and other native plant species.

Local author­i­ties are encour­aged by the law to deploy spe­cific projects and pro­to­cols to pro­mote the role of farm­ers as cus­to­di­ans of the land.

According to Istat, the National Institute of Statistics, there are about 1.1 mil­lion com­pa­nies in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor. Of these, 401,000 are solely ded­i­cated to farm­ing, includ­ing 330,000 oper­ated by a sin­gle per­son. The aver­age size of a farm in Italy is about 11 hectares.

The law also estab­lishes the National Day of Agriculture, which will be cel­e­brated every year on the sec­ond Sunday of November to raise aware­ness about the fun­da­men­tal role played by agri­cul­ture, which, in its phases of sow­ing, care, wait­ing and har­vest­ing, embod­ies the essence of life.”

Central and local author­i­ties will pro­mote the day with com­mu­ni­ca­tion cam­paigns on tele­vi­sion and other media and ini­tia­tives in schools.

According to Italian law­mak­ers, agri­cul­ture is essen­tial for meet­ing the basic needs of humans and achiev­ing the coun­try’s eco­nomic, envi­ron­men­tal and social well-being.”

Further strength­en­ing the role of the cat­e­gory, the gov­ern­ment will also be respon­si­ble every year for a national prize, De agri cul­tura, a Latin expres­sion mean­ing about agri­cul­ture.”

This prize will award €20,000 to farm­ers deploy­ing inno­v­a­tive farm­ing tech­niques or prac­tices, which result in bet­ter qual­ity goods and a lower envi­ron­men­tal impact.

The defin­i­tive approval of the new law was greeted with enthu­si­asm by farm­ers’ unions.

Such a mer­i­to­ri­ous inter­ven­tion con­tributes deci­sively to a strong relaunch of the image of the pri­mary sec­tor, too often tar­geted by unac­cept­able accu­sa­tions of envi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion, which in many cases have unfor­tu­nately con­veyed com­mu­nity poli­cies that pay lit­tle atten­tion to those who pro­duce healthy, high-qual­ity food and who con­tribute daily with their work to defend the coun­try’s pro­duc­tive capac­ity,” said Tommaso Battista, the pres­i­dent of the Agricultural Producers Confederation (Copragri).

In a sim­i­lar vein, Cristiano Fini, pres­i­dent of the Italian Farmers Association (CIA), noted that the new law shines a spot­light on the value of [the farmer], cen­tral not only in terms of agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion but also from an envi­ron­men­tal and eco­log­i­cal per­spec­tive.”

Indeed, the strate­gic role of the sec­tor is not just to pro­duce healthy and safe food for every­one, but also to ensure the main­te­nance and devel­op­ment of rural areas; to safe­guard the soil and land against hydro­ge­o­log­i­cal insta­bil­ity; to man­age water resources; to pro­duce energy from renew­able sources; to defend the land­scape and bio­di­ver­sity,” he said.


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