Italian agriculture is afraid of multinationals

The Italian farmers they are frightened by international speculation and consumers should be too: unfortunately, awareness of what we eat has been lost and this damages human health, the environment and the national economy. If once farmers were afraid of pests and diseases that could affect the harvest, today they fear the speculations of the agri-food sector.

Corn, wheat but also soy and cereals. They are products at the basis of human nutrition and raw materials to produce feed which dairy cows and livestock feed on for the production of meat. L'Italian agriculture has always had to face adversities such as parasites, plant and animal diseases, but for some time now his greatest fear is given by international speculations that cause a big "price volatility”By killing the agricultural market and environmental policies.

What does it mean "price volatility“? The classic Italian example is given by the price of wheat which from July 2010 to June 2011 in Italy has seen crazy fluctuations going from 20 euros per quintal to a price below 5 euros per quintal. The price of 20 euros per quintal was more or less constant until September 2010, the price given by Bologna stock exchange, one of the most important bags for Italian cereals. 20 euros per quintal, for a Italian farmer it just means returning with expenses. From this practical example the difficulty facing the sector is clear Italian farmer must face. The prices of raw materials vary very quickly and the problem is that for theItalian agriculture it is impossible to predict such fluctuations.

The economic heritage that revolves around raw materials and thereforeagriculture, it is so high that it has aroused the interest of large multinationals that buy and resell cereals just like other companies speculate on oil and coal. Certainly cereals are poor foods and have nothing to do with oil, but within a few years they have become the center of attention of the world of international finance.

The reason? In China and in India per capita consumption of cereals is declining and nations have drastically changed their eating habits in favor of a diet based on the consumption of meat. Such a change may seem "futile"But it gave rise to another worrying phenomenon, the so-called"land grabbing"Which literally means"land grabbing ". It is a race to see who wins the largest piece of land in those developing countries. The large multinationals have launched what has been called the "agricultural neo colonialism", Phenomenon born in 2007.

The data collected by the Oxfam, An international confederation that fights against the injustice of poverty in the world, from 2001 to today the hectares of land involved in sales and sales, are over 227 million. To give an idea of ​​how many 227 million hectares of land are, you have to imagine an area as large as all of North Western Europe. With this example it is clear to everyone how important the sector is agri-food for the speculations of multinationals. The price crisis that hit theItalian agriculture and then made thebiological agriculture as an elite commodity, it was caused by such speculations.

Cultivation in the southern hemisphere produces very low cost food, which is then sold in western countries. It is difficult to predict which security procedures are implemented in these geographical areas but the intensive cultivation, as well as intensive farming, can seriously harm the health of the environment (harmful emissions, pesticides, herbicides released into the atmosphere) and of humans. Furthermore the intensive cultivation it is used not only for the production of food but also for biofuels. The massive acquisition of land is heavily criticized and has received a series of condemnations from governments and bodies that deal with the protection of man and the territory.

The solution forItalian agriculture? As often happens, the power is in the hands of the consumer. The Italian farmers they can't do much but adjust to one intensive cultivation and enter into agreements with multinationals to avoid fluctuating prices too much. The consumer, preferring the local product could, instead, make the difference.

edited by Anna De Simone

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