The growing Italian organic sector, by Olivier Tosseri (IT)

04/09/2019
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The French online business magazine "Les Echos" publishes an article on the Italian organic sector which is reported here.

Over the last ten years, exports of organic products "Made in Italy"  have exploded by +600%. With around 2 billion euros, Italy is the world's second largest exporter behind the United States. Organic has become an essential sector of the Italian food industry, which has a global turnover of almost 6 billion euros. By organizing the Milan World Expo in 2015, Italy chose the theme "Feeding the planet, energy for life". For its agri-food industry, this dynamism comes undoubtedly from organic production. According to a study by the company Nomisma, published on the eve of the 31st International Exhibition of Organic and Natural Products, to be held in Bologna from 6 to 9 September, more than 20% of Italian households buy organic products at least once a week. Real "land of organic", the peninsula is the first European exporting country. It is no longer a niche sector but a lever for growth, with more than 66,000 producing holdings and nearly 2 million hectares of cultivated land, or 15.4% of arable land. The country has risen to second place worldwide behind Spain, which has 2.1 million hectares. According to the Italian Association for Organic Agriculture (AIAB), one in three organic farms in Europe is Italian.

Increase in exports

More than 18,000 holdings process and distribute their crops generating a turnover of almost 6 billion euros, including 3.6 billion made in the national market and 2.3 billion abroad. Exports rose sharply in 2017, up 178% year-on-year. Over ten years, growth was 597%, with France and Germany as the preferred destinations.

2018 was the year of all records for the organic sector

And the prospects for 2030 are encouraging. According to the international association of organic farming, Ifoam, organic will represent a market of 90 billion euros worldwide, United States of America in the lead (40 billion), followed by  Germany (10 billion) and France (7.9 billion), dogged by China (7.6 billion).

National plan for organic seeds

Italy ranks 5th. Its margins of progress are important. The per capita expenditure for organic products is 52 euros, far behind Switzerland (288 euros) or Denmark (278 euros). Supermarkets account for 46% of sales, compared to 23% for specialist stores: figures that have been reversed in the last ten years. "In the last decade, the growth of Italian organic exports has been exponential," says Maria Grazia Mammucini, President of Federbio. We are now at a crossroads. The sector will be able to consolidate this growth and increase it only if it is able to create real national chains ". A law will soon enter into force to guarantee the organic "made in Italy" , support production and launch a national plan for organic seeds. The professionals also ask that the action deals with prices to make organic products more affordable. The difference between organic products and conventional products is about 20 to 30%.

Les Echos - Olivier Tosseri

 

Download the original article HERE