One of Italy’s largest agricultural operations, Bonifiche Ferraresi, has signed a new multi-million Euro investment agreement with a wide network of agricultural organizations associated with the Consorzi Agrari d’Italia (CAI).
As part of the partnership, Bonifiche Ferraresi has agreed to inject €170 million ($200 million) of capital into the CAI. The goal is to help small farmers and producers retain bargaining power and production autonomy in a business environment increasingly controlled by large multinationals.See Also: Olive Oil Business News
“Seventy-five percent of the agrochemicals market and 63 percent of the seed market are controlled by just three global corporations,” said Ettore Prandini, president of the major Italian farmers association, Coldiretti. “That means Italy must reinforce the Agricultural Consortia network, the only weapon farmers have to retain their bargaining power.”
The idea of the partnership is to fund a network of know-how and services, which will be available to hundreds of thousands of farmers spread across Italy.
“It can enhance the development and the competitiveness of Italian agriculture in a scenario dominated by the overwhelming power of the corporations,” Coldiretti said. “A power that endangers both food sovereignty and biodiversity in the different countries.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for more cooperation among the small producers of the Italian agricultural sector.
“The global emergency caused by the coronavirus has brought a new understanding of the strategic value of the food chain and its need for safety and certified quality, but it has also highlighted its fragilities,” Prandini said.
“We need a whole national plan to defend the food chain and not to depend on imports in moments of such international distress.”
Prandini added that the new partnership would extend to all corners of the country’s agricultural sector.
“The new reality extends its operations, from technological innovation to supply chain contracts, from agro-energy to gardening, from the supply of technical means to the protection of seeds at risk of extinction,” he said.