Organic acreage in Italy is the widest among the European countries (about 1 million hectares) and it is, at present, in a rising phase; at the same time Italy is second in the world for number of organic growers (about 50.000 organic farms).
This data have been released by the National Institute of Agricultural Economics (INEA) and by the German Research Institute for Organic Agriculture (FiBL) during the conference 'Development of knowledge and organic agriculture: New frontiers for the organic sector', that took place, last april 16, at the Agri-food Department of the National Research Council (CNR), in Rome. The conference was promoted by the same department with the participation of the Agricultural Research and Experimentation Council (CRA) and the Italian Association for Organic Agriculture (AIAB), a body that promote the biologic sector in Italy.
The speakers have highlighted the great interest of Italian farmers for a more sustainable agriculture. The conference was also an opportunity for people from research, production and consume to meet in a same place. Although the statistical data seem to be satisfactory, more has to do for the operators to strengthen the economic trend of this sector, being its economic turnover only 2% of agri-food market (about 1,5 billions of euros; source Coldiretti-Ispo).
Some sectors of organic market show a growing trend: for example in 1996 only 69 school purchased organic foods for their student lunches. In 2007 they reach the number of 683. We have a similar trend for corporate lunch services. (Bio Bank Report).
'Scientific research about organic agriculture, takes advantage, in Italy, of only a little rate of the financial resources for agricultural and agri-food research and this could be the Achilles' heel of this sector, as explains the CNR speaker; he said also it is necessary, in Italy, to turn competitive organic farms and cheaper its products and similarly to improve the scientific knowledge about organic agriculture.
In this direction can be useful to support a more targeted interdisciplinary research encouraging farmers to take advantage from the most recent technological novelties. For this reason CNR and CRA are increasing collaborations with farmers.
During the conference the speakers have provided also information about some technical improvements developed by the CNR and the CRA research in the organic agriculture, food quality, phytopathogical and environmental sectors.
You can find more about this issue at this web site: www.daa.cnr.it.
Source: Italian National Research Council (CNR)
Author: Luca Federico Fianchini, Apr 16, 2008