Crisis: Coldiretti, on Italian wheat a 700mln speculation
Italian wheat has been hit by a 700 million euro speculation, which are the losses suffered by Italian farmers due to the collapse in prices compared to last year, without any benefit for consumers. This is what emerges from the Coldiretti #laguerradelgrano analysis released on the occasion of the Day in Defense of Italian Wheat with tens of thousands of farmers taking to the streets throughout Italy with tractors for the largest national mobilization in decades in support of the most widespread crop in our country.
In the space of a year, quotations of durum wheat for pasta have lost 43 percent in value while there is a 19 percent drop in the price of soft wheat for bread making. An unprecedented crack – Coldiretti denounces – with farmers' fees that have returned to the levels of 30 years ago, due to the maneuvers of those who make speculative purchases on foreign markets of wheat to “pass off” as Made in Italy pasta or bread, due to the lack of the’obligation to indicate on the label the real origin of the wheat used.
It is no coincidence that in the first four months of 2016, wheat arrivals in Italy increased by 10 percent, according to a Coldiretti analysis of Istat data, aimed mainly at lowering the domestic market price through oversupply. The result is that one in three packages of pasta is made with foreign wheat, as is half of the bread on sale, but consumers may not know this. Not to mention that foreign product that lands in domestic ports, as opposed to Italian product, often has long transport and storage times behind it. Just think – Coldiretti denounces – of the paradox of Canadian wheat.
In the North American country the harvest takes place in September and, therefore, what arrives in Italy is already a year old, while the tricolor one has just been harvested.
The result is that today durum wheat for pasta – Coldiretti continues – is paid as much as 18 cents a kilo while soft wheat for bread has dropped as low as 16 cents a kilo, on values below production costs that jeopardize the future of Italy's granary. On a few cents a kilo granted to farmers depends the survival of the most representative supply chain of Made in Italy while – denounces Coldiretti – from wheat to pasta prices increase by about 500% and those from wheat to bread even by 1400%. However, the same ministerial analyses – Coldiretti continues – have also allowed us to unmask the ongoing speculation on the price of wheat that especially affects Italian farmers with prices that have practically halved compared to last year for durum wheat.
"In order to restore a future to Italian wheat, the origin of wheat used in pasta and derivatives/processed products must be indicated on the label," Coldiretti President Roberto Moncalvo stresses, "but also the indication of the harvest date (year of production) of the wheat along with a ban on the use of non-EU wheat beyond 18 months from the harvest date. But we also need to stop wild zero-duty imports that use agriculture as a bargaining chip in international negotiations without any consideration of the heavy impact this has on the economy, employment and the environment.".
Italy is the leading European producer of durum wheat, destined for pasta, which assumes significant importance given the high cultivated area of about 1.3 million hectares for more than 4.8 million tons of production that is concentrated in southern Italy, especially in Puglia and Sicily, which alone account for 42 percent of national production. More limited – concludes Coldiretti – is the production of soft wheat, which stands at 3.2 million tons on 0.6 million hectares.