The hard Italian wheat battle
Italian farmers are fighting a new wheat battle phase. The struggle to defend hard Italian wheat sharpened in July 2016, a threshing period, when shares fell by 42% against the same period in 2015.
Italy is Europe’s main hard wheat producer, with a cultivated area of 1.3 million hectares (ha) and a production of nearly 5 million tonnes (while 3 million t at 0.6 million is Italy’s soft wheat production). But the sector suffers.
The massive imports from abroad (+315% from the Ukraine for soft wheat, used for bread, +4% from Canada for hard pasta wheat) and contraction in Italian product shares at levels too insufficient to pay the enterprises, put at risk the survival of 30,000 farming firms, according to the Coldiretti dossier, leading the first wheat Battle line.
The farming organization denounces: “Today hard wheat to make pasta is paid 18 cents a kg, soft wheat for bread 16 a kg, far below the production costs the firm sustains. From wheat to pasta prices rise 500% and from wheat to bread as much as 1,400%.” Numbers that whistle, encouraging the wheat Battle protests to sue the institutions.