Growth for Italian agriculture compared to last year. Boom for olives and wine but problems such as prices and imports remain
From wheat to wine by way of olive oil and industrial tomatoes. These are the main Made in Italy products characterising the agricultural year 2015. This emerges in a press release by Coldiretti outlining the economic situation as 2015 draws to a close.
The comparison with 2014 is distinctly in favour of 2015, although the trends for prices at origin remain rather unsatisfactory. The durum wheat harvest should come to about 4.38 million tons, thanks the growth in yields and planted areas. Soft wheat, on the other hand, is estimated at 3 million tonnes, with a significant fall in area (-49,000 hectares). Positive figures were also recorded for barley, with 938,000 tonnes and an increase of crop area.
Maize and soy
According to Istat, there has been a sharp decline in maize growing, with as many as 130,000 hectares less than the previous year, for total production of about 7.3 million tonnes. The are many different reasons for this downturn, ranging from market prices to attacks by fungi affecting crops in some parts of the country. As regards soy, on the other hand, the harvest is estimated at 1.1 million tonnes, joined by 180,000 for sunflower.
Rice and oil
Compared to 2014, there were increases in rice production (+100,000 tonnes) and industrial tomatoes (+15%), with a total harvest of about 5.3 million tonnes.
The most impressive result, however, concerns olive oil, which posted a full-scale boom thanks to +46% compared to the previous year, an absolute value which would settle at around 300,000 tons from all Italian olive-growing regions, with the exception of Sardinia where a downturn was seen.
Wine, milk and meat
If the olive oil sector can celebrate, then wine can also smile. Wine, in fact, achieved an historic result: Italy overtook France to become the world's largest producer of wines and sparkling wines thanks to an estimated output of 48.9 million hectolitres, based on European Commission data.
2015 will be remembered for the battle over milk prices and the use of powdered milk to make cheese, as required by the EU following indications from the industrial sector. In the meantime, delivered domestic production came to 11 million tonnes.
The price situation has become cause for concern in the pork sector, squeezed between falling prices and competition from low-quality imported products.