Updated: July 21, 2016
Why are younger generations of Italians returning to farming, and rebuilding the country’s agricultural sector?
“In Campania where we come from, there are many abandoned land, and high unemployment. Many young people turn to farming out of necessity and passion,” says winemaker, Mario Notaroberto.
“Trying to purchase private farmland is financially challenging as the government does not provide sufficient help. The help I offer to young farmers isn’t financial but I offer advice, knowledge and skills. When needed, I lend them my machineries”
For 33 year old Walter Zamuner, it was a childhood passion that inspired him to fulfill his life-long dream to be a farmer five years ago. “It isn’t a simple profession. There are so many unforeseeable risks that can jeopardise harvests every year,” says saffron producer, Zamuner.
“At the same time, it is the best job in the world; being in constant contact with nature is a wonderful thing. I continuously see natural wonders taking place before my very eyes. It energizes me, giving me new ideas to experiment and practice.”
“I have learnt in this sector, sacrifices that are made, always bring great rewards. Agriculture is in my DNA. Farming in the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region has a value-added factor. I work in a fantastic environment, even if the land is difficult to work,” continues Zamuner whose aspiration is to grow top-quality food.
Italian Agricultural Minister Maurizio Martina in July 2014 signed the Terrevive with the goal to encourage generational and youth agricultural entrepreneurship.
The Terrevive is the first historic Legislative decree of its kind – granting 5,500 hectares (about the size of 7,000 soccer field) of federal farmland to be sold and/or lease to farmers under the age of 40. Other government incentives include guaranteed zero-interest loans and tax breaks.
On this segment, we speak to Dino Scanavino, President of the Italian Confederation of Farmers (Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori, in short CIA) on the Italian farming industry.
One of the largest agricultural professional organisations in Europe, CIA represents over 900,000 members. About a third of its members are agricultural entrepreneurs. Our dialogue is interpreted by Cristina Chirico, CIA’s Head of International Office.