Potential and obstacles of agriculture in Italy
Which are the potential benefits and obstacles to work on?
Potential of agriculture In Italy
- First of all, Italy has a fairly rich local biodiversity within the agricultural ecosystem that must be protected and enhanced also through the strengthening of the initiative of local communities.
- There are many regional specificities useful to implement an innovative multi-purpose system and low-cost availability of marginal, abandoned and degraded land that can be regenerated with new activities, creating new value for local communities.
- There is a high possibility of developing innovative precision agriculture and breeding techniques based on animal welfare and low impacts. New digital services are available and can support quality sustainable production.
- Also new techniques are available to improve the monitoring of organic matter in the soil and improve its management and fertility.
- Many local crops and varieties cultivated in Italy can adapt to climate change and there is a presence of low input crops.
- Moreover, there is quite a high availability of business models for the diversification of rural incomes. They add value to local production and products, with agritourism activities, educational farms, direct sales, renewable energy production, use of by-products and waste for bio-based industrial activities.
- New professional and entrepreneurial opportunities are given by some bio-economy activities that support agriculture, especially for young people.
- In conclusion there is potential offered by urban and peri-urban agriculture and by indoor and vertical agriculture.
The main obstacles of agriculture In Italy
- On the other hand, there is a large presence of marginal, abandoned and degraded land. This is more exposed to the problems generated by climate change and impacted by the proximity of infrastructure, housing and industrial plants.
- There is a high consumption of agricultural land for the construction of new buildings and new infrastructure.
- Moreover, there is an abandonment of rural areas due to the limited profitability of agricultural activities and the low presence of services, especially in mountainous areas, accompanied, in some other limited areas, by an excessive concentration of monocultures and intensive livestock farming.
- Volatility in the prices of agricultural products and increased competition from agricultural products from global markets, with lower quality, safety and controls.
- The local agricultural products marketing and sales chain is weak and unorganised.
- There is still a lack of technical capacity and innovation to respond to new agricultural challenges: climate change, water scarcity and the presence of non-native pests and plants.
- Lastly it is necessary to organise training and share information for farmers on business opportunities and innovation management.