Thousands of Hectares of Abandoned Olive Groves Set to Be Sold in Italy

The latest auction announced by Ismea includes more than 300 olive groves. The goal is to revive existing farms and establish new ones.

By Paolo DeAndreis
Mar. 23, 2023 16:41 UTC

Twenty thou­sand hectares of unused and aban­doned farm­land and olive groves have been put on sale in Italy by the Institute of Services for the Agricultural and Food Market (Ismea)

The sixth edi­tion of Ismea’s National Bank of the Agricultural Lands (BTA) auc­tion lists avail­able farms across the coun­try. According to Ismea, the land on sale, enough to estab­lish 800 farms, is worth €260 mil­lion.

The gen­er­a­tional turnover is cru­cial to keep rural areas alive and to sus­tain a com­pet­i­tive, inno­v­a­tive and eco­nom­i­cally and envi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture.- Ismea, Agricultural and Food Market

Of the avail­able farm­land, 315 lots are exclu­sively olive groves in south­ern Italy. However, plenty of other lots, includ­ing olive groves and other crops, notably vine­yards, are also avail­able.

The farm­land lots on sale are listed on the BTA web­site. Thirty-six per­cent of the avail­able land is in Sicily, 13 per­cent in Tuscany, 12 per­cent in Sardinia and 9 per­cent in Puglia.

See Also:Restoring Abandoned Olive Trees at Leonardo da Vinci’s Home

To par­tic­i­pate, farm­ers must sub­mit their dec­la­ra­tion of inter­est by June 5th.

The area and price vary con­sid­er­ably, from 5 hectares of olive trees sold for €100,000 near Caltagirone, Sicily, to 98 hectares for €316,000 in Arcidosso, Tuscany.

While the BTA auc­tion is open to every­one, spe­cific sup­port is set to be pro­vided to young farm­ers. The bank will allow farm­ers under 41 to pay the total price of the farm­land with a 30-years fixed-rate amor­ti­za­tion plan.

Since its first edi­tion, BTA has auc­tioned more than 40,000 hectares of farm­land, dis­trib­uted from north to south, trig­ger­ing almost 7,000 dec­la­ra­tions of inter­est,” Ismea offi­cials told Olive Oil Times.

In the first five edi­tions, the BTA has sold 450 lots, mainly in the south­ern regions of Puglia, Sicily and Basilicata.

BTA is just one of Ismea’s ini­tia­tives to stim­u­late the inter­est of a new gen­er­a­tion of farm­ers. Another exam­ple, the Land Generation ini­tia­tive, pro­vides spe­cial financ­ing for younger farm­ers to expand their oper­a­tions or launch new farms.

Ismea offi­cials said younger farm­ers and women are sup­ported through a spe­cific ini­tia­tive that mixes loans at favor­able con­di­tions and grants.

“[These] are meant to strengthen cur­rent agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion and the trans­for­ma­tion and com­mer­cial­iza­tion of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, as well as fos­ter the diver­si­fi­ca­tion of agri­cul­tural income,” Ismea offi­cials said.

The gen­er­a­tional turnover is cru­cial to keep rural areas alive and to sus­tain a com­pet­i­tive, inno­v­a­tive and eco­nom­i­cally and envi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture,” they added. Sadly, data show us that the young aban­don­ing rural areas is still very intense and con­sti­tutes a demo­graphic and socio-eco­nomic risk for entire ter­ri­to­ries.”

At the same time, what clearly emerged in the last cen­sus by Istat [the Italian national sta­tis­tics agency] is the strong asso­ci­a­tion between the young farmer and a higher com­pet­i­tive capac­ity of the farm, which is a result of the will­ing­ness to invest, the intro­duc­tion of tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tion, the abil­ity to value the [farm­ers’] net­work,” the offi­cials con­cluded. It also comes from a ten­dency to diver­sify income sources and give value to the ter­ri­tory.”

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