New Law in Italy Incentivizes Young People to Become Farmers

The legislation includes favorable tax rates for young people starting businesses, along with grants to buy land and equipment.
By Paolo DeAndreis
Mar. 21, 2024 13:25 UTC

The Italian Parliament has passed a new law to increase the num­ber of young farm­ers in the coun­try.

This leg­is­la­tion pro­vides fund­ing and ini­tia­tives to address the gen­er­a­tional gap in agri­cul­ture by sup­port­ing com­pa­nies with new ideas and tech­nolo­gies and pri­or­i­tiz­ing inno­v­a­tive entre­pre­neur­ial skills.

The law seeks to facil­i­tate the expan­sion of exist­ing ven­tures and the cre­ation of new ones by farm­ers under the age of 41.

See Also:New Law in Italy Establishes Role of Farmers in Protecting Environment

If coop­er­a­tives are inter­ested in ini­tia­tives related to this law, they will qual­ify for the new funds only if at least half of their mem­bers are younger than 41.

While a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of Italian agri­cul­tural com­pa­nies also engage in other sec­tors, this law will exclu­sively sup­port enti­ties that pri­mar­ily focus on agri­cul­ture.

In the final approved text, the total funds allo­cated by the law have been adjusted from the ini­tially pro­posed €100 mil­lion to €15 mil­lion per annum between 2024 and 2029.

These funds will co-finance devel­op­ment pro­grams pro­posed by regional author­i­ties through­out the coun­try, includ­ing the acqui­si­tion of farm­land and agri­cul­tural equip­ment.

Additionally, the law reduces the legal and bureau­cratic expenses asso­ci­ated with land pur­chases by 50 per­cent.

Projects that incor­po­rate tech­no­log­i­cal upgrades and prod­uct inno­va­tion strate­gies will be pri­or­i­tized. Adopting best agri­cul­tural prac­tices, par­tic­u­larly pre­ci­sion agri­cul­ture, will also be pri­or­i­tized.

The law will encour­age a range of new ini­tia­tives within the com­mu­nity orga­nized by local author­i­ties, such as work­shops, sem­i­nars and the par­tic­i­pa­tion of new young farm­ers in agri­cul­tural fairs and events.

The law will also intro­duce a favor­able tax regime for new farm­ing com­pa­nies and those expand­ing.

Under this law, a new National Observatory for Youth Entrepreneurship and Employment in Agriculture (Onilga) will also be estab­lished.

This body will include experts from sev­eral min­istries, farm­ing asso­ci­a­tions and spe­cial­ized orga­ni­za­tions such as the Institute for Services to the Agricultural Market (Ismea) and the Council for Research in Agriculture and Analysis of the Agri-Economy (Crea).

This law is the lat­est effort in a long-fought strug­gle against the preva­lent issue of an aging farm­ing pop­u­la­tion in Italy.

According to the most recent General Census of Agriculture pub­lished in 2022 by the National Institute of Statistics (Istat), the num­ber of agri­cul­tural com­pa­nies led by young peo­ple fell from 11.5 per­cent in 2010 to 9.3 per­cent in 2020.

The major­ity of the remain­ing com­pa­nies are often man­aged by farm­ers over the age of 65. In 2021, Ismea reported that in Italy, there are 11 farm­ers over the age of 65 for each farmer under the age of 40.

The Istat Census revealed a total of 1.13 mil­lion agri­cul­tural enti­ties in the coun­try in 2020, with only 104,886 led by entre­pre­neurs under 40.

Regarding the olive oil sec­tor, Ismea reported in 2021 that only 4.6 per­cent of the spe­cial­ized olive farm­ing com­pa­nies are led by farm­ers under 40, much lower than the 7.9 per­cent reported for the entire Italian agri­cul­tural sec­tor.

Istat noted that younger farm­ers are more likely to adopt the lat­est tech­nolo­gies and engage in organic farm­ing, mak­ing their enter­prises more com­pet­i­tive in the mar­ket.

These com­pa­nies are typ­i­cally larger than aver­age, oper­ate on leased land and are sig­nif­i­cantly more dig­i­tal­ized and inno­v­a­tive than those led by older gen­er­a­tions.


Related Articles