Agriculture in Italy

What characterizes the Italian agricultural sector?

Agriculture is one of Italy’s key economic sectors, accounting for around 2.1% of GDP and 56 billion euro of turnover. With just over 12 million hectares of land used, Italian agriculture achieves more than 12% of the sector’s turnover in the EU, confirming itself as the continent’s third largest agricultural economy after France (17% with 28 million hectares) and Germany (13% with 15 million hectares).

In 2020, agricultural production had a slight decrease in volume and added value, as it was strongly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

As previously mentioned, the value of national agricultural production exceeded 56 billion euros in 2020.

  1. 29 billion is represented by plant crops
  2. 16 billion come from livestock products
  3. The remainder comes from from diversification activities (support and secondary)

There is a greater concentration of agricultural economic units in the south of the country, where almost 60% of the units are located, while the rest is equally distributed between Central and North.

In general, these farms are rather small: two thirds have an area of less than 5 hectares and more than 30% are micro-enterprises with an area that does not even reach one hectare; on the other hand, units with areas of more than 100 hectares represent a very residual share.

The northern part of Italy primarily produces grains, soybeans, meat, and dairy products, while the south specializes in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, wine, and durum wheat.

Regarding investments, according to ISTAT national accounts data, gross fixed capital formation in agriculture is about 10,14 million euros per year, with a significant increase on the analysis of the historical series of the last 5 years.

Each year around 6.3 million euros (61.7% of total investment) are spent on the purchase of plant, machinery and tools.

Important steps will be taken in the coming years to ensure the sustainable development of the agricultural sector. The Italian National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), presented to the European Commission in April 2021, aims to strengthen the agricultural sector, making it more competitive, resilient and sustainable, allocating 6.8 billion euros for Circular Economy and Sustainable Agriculture, Supply Chain and “Valley” Contract and Protection of the territory and water resources.

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