“Food prices are soaring: eating is now a luxury”

The perfect storm: rising energy prices, raw materials, international crisis and speculation. According to the latest report from FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, food prices on supermarket shelves increased by 12.6% from February to March. A trend that, according to a study reviewed by Cia Rovigo, is also recorded in Polesine, with double-digit increases in a few weeks.

“However – explains the president of Cia Rovigo, Erri Faccini – the single agricultural entrepreneur finds himself with less and less. Currently, only 10% of the price of the final product is paid to the producer”. However, the latter must in turn face exorbitant energy costs (with spikes of +100% compared to a year ago), agricultural diesel (today, Monday 11 April, the price is 1.20 euros per litre, whereas in December it was 70 cents per litre) and agricultural raw materials. “Farmers work at a loss”. Wheat prices rose 19.7%, while corn prices rose 19.1%. The index of lists of vegetable oils marks + 23.2%, sugar + 6.7%, meat + 4.8%. And again: dairy products increased by up to 23.6% compared to March 2021, with the prices of butter and milk powder soaring.

In the collective imagination, higher prices in supermarkets therefore mean additional gains for producers. “In reality, it doesn’t work like that – analyzes Faccini – It is right that citizens are aware of the fact that farmers do not enjoy a fair income, especially in this historical context. It’s the law of the market in reverse. Instead of increasing, in a logic of equity and fair recognition of an essential activity such as that of the primary sector, producers’ incomes fall to a peak. In the long term, the stability of the sector is threatened”.

In this context, specifies the CIA, the sector and district contracts, instituted with the 2003 finance law, must be relaunched: “They are stipulated between the subjects of the agri-food sector and the Ministry of Agricultural Policies in order to carry out programs integrated investments of a cross-industry nature and of national importance”. Sector contracts, starting from agricultural production, are developed in the different segments of the agri-food sector, understood as a set of production, processing, marketing and distribution phases of agricultural and agri-food products. Fundable projects can have an investment volume of 4 to 50 million euros.

According to Cia Rovigo, it is also necessary to continue to promote excellence on the shelves of small, medium and large markets through agreements with large retailers; Concretely, it is necessary to encourage the setting up of corners dedicated to local products, as already envisaged by the “Support program for agro-food promotion and recovery actions”, promoted by the regional administration, for an investment total of one million and 370 thousand euros.

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