From the States General to general need, the step is short. This seems to be the message issued from Villa Pamphilj by the organizations that deal with Made In Italy in the agri-food sector.

It is the chronicle of an announced difficulty that regards the estimates on the losses of the Italian agricultural sector: € 12.3 billion. Less exports, K.O. catering, increase in retail prices inversely proportional to those applied to producers. Many of these costs are unjustified, but much is lost in terms of competitiveness due to structural delays that make uncomfortable the connections between South and North of Italy and with the rest of the world, and export volumes are damaged due to increased costs that affect their competitiveness. Distorting perspectives that have negatively impacted 57% of the 730 thousand Italian agricultural realities. At stake is the extended “Farm to Fork” supply chain with a total value of over 538 billion and more than 3.6 million employed in Italy.

Much has changed in the food choices of Italians. The local becomes the preferred channel of choice, as emerged from the Lockdown Nomisma Crif observatory which monitored the purchasing behavior of Italian consumers, finding an increase in purchases of products of Italian origin and those at zero km by 22% of Italians, a share that rises to 28% for those who started buying products from short supply chains. Also due to the events of the last few months there has been a profound change in purchasing habits. The needs of the past have been reshaped in the pyramid of priorities: attention to reducing waste, healthiness, multi-channel supply, but above all the need for food safety. An element, the latter, strongly linked to the origin, traceability and certifications.

Regarding certifications, Fabrizio Capaccioli, Managing Director of ASACERT, the certification body that invented ITA0039: “The strategic action of the ITA0039 certification protocol is consolidated. A path that makes great strides in the process of protection and enhancement of the real Italian product to guarantee health and transparency, perfectly in line with the recent indications that emerged during the General States, a process that is based on a virtuous network, dedicated to the enhancement and diffusion of the Italian food and wine and agri-food product in the world“.

Looking at the other side of the coin, the fragility of a system that has lost so much, however, is there for all to see. The Prime Minister was asked to structure a national plan of interventions to defend the Italian supremacy in the agri-food sector for a real emancipation from the supply of foreign goods, also and above all in a contingency made of duties, vetoes, unfair struggles and tensions in the international trade. A new protagonism of Italy in Europe is needed.

The same Europe that sees Italian agriculture in the last places among European countries in terms of supports, where France, Germany and Spain stand out in first place. This scenario could progress in its decline, since the European Union plans to reduce the agricultural budget allocated to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) by around 34 billion.

To remain in Europe, the President of the Council was asked for a “green boost”, as established in the context of the European Green Deal, for which it will be necessary to introduce all the procedures to complete the path of origin labeling in Italy, in favor of the transparency of information to guarantee consumers and of the salubrity of food.

The main organizations of the agricultural sector were present at the General States, including Coldiretti, who proposed the purchase of 1 billion euro of 100% Made in Italy food to be allocated to needy families and public canteens to face the greatest crisis of the past 150 years.

But everyone knows that the decisive game is being played on the export front. We need to promote an extraordinary internationalization plan with the creation of new channels and a massive communication campaign for 100% Made in Italy productions. In this regard, the ICE (Italian Trade & Investment Agency) is developing a path to facilitate the internationalization of Italian brands in strategic markets such as the Far East.

Internationalization, Farm to Fork, infrastructures, transparency, real and tangible aid, Made in Italy at the center of European agendas. We will see if these States General will prove to be a truly operational table, whose interlocutors will have been useful in their individual category contributions to create a basis on which to structure substantial reforms of the Italy System, or if they will prove to be a useless reminiscence (beyond the Alps) of epochs far and past.