Italy Agriculture 3

Italy Agriculture Part 3


According to THEMEPARKTOUR, Barley has now lost the importance it once had for food; the area currently cultivated amounts to an average of 230,000 hectares; production tends to rise due to the increase in annual yield (2.38 million quintals per year on the 1927-31 average, compared to 2.08 on the 1909-13 average). It is a crop of southern Italy; ¾ of the cultivated  area and 4/5 of the production are given by Puglia, Sicily and Sardinia united; then come Lucania, Emilia, Venezia Tridentina and Giulia; in these last two regions the product is also used for the manufacture of beer. Rye, a mountain cereal, is of primary importance in Piedmont, then in Lombardy, in Venice Tridentina and in Calabria; an average of 120-125,000 hectares are dedicated to it and the harvest is 1½-1¾ million quintals (two thirds from Piedmont and Lombardy). Oats have a greater importance, both for the area under cultivation (510,000-520,000 hectares), and as regards production; it is used exclusively as forage. The harvest, which although through large fluctuations tends to increase due to an increase in annual yield, is given in the forefront of Puglia, Lucania, Calabria, regions where, moreover, also due to the climate, the annual fluctuations are very large; in Lombardy, Tuscany and Lazio, which come second in terms of product size, the harvests are however less fluctuating.

Potatoes, legumes and vegetables are still to be mentioned among the products of the soil that enter to a very large extent in the diet of Italians. The area that Italy dedicates to potato cultivation (over 350,000 hectares, a quarter of which is associated with other crops) is large, but production – about 20 million quintals per year – is not adequate. In Abruzzo and Molise (which alone absorbs just under a quarter of the area) about 20 q. per hectare, where in Venice Tridentina and Lombardy it reaches 110 quintals. This huge gap is related to the quality of the land used for this cultivation and to the agricultural methods, which are still very backward in central and southern Italy. For production, Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto and Tuscany are at the head; Abruzzo, Campania and Calabria come second in line. Overall, however, the potato does not have the importance in Italy that it has assumed as a cereal supplement in Central Europe, where it is also widely used for industrial uses.

Among the legumes, the broad bean (Sicily, Sardinia, peninsular Italy) has long been widespread, the production of which is increasing (3.7-4.7 million quintals per year); beans, commonly used throughout Italy, follow at a great distance, followed by other legumes of more limited and localized consumption (peas, chickpeas, lupins). While the beans give rise to export, the other legumes are not enough to cover national consumption.

Favorable soil and climate conditions favor horticultural crops in Italy, wherever they are subsidized by watering or irrigation; they flourish around the large centers of consumption, but have assumed an intensive character in certain areas of the Neapolitan area, Sicily, Liguria, Tuscany, the Venetian coast (Chioggia) and Puglia, and also in areas of recent reclamation; the products circulate throughout Italy, flowing towards the major cities. The average annual production of what are called “highly cultivated vegetables” is 16-17 million q .; first place goes to tomatoes (⅓ of the total product; half in 1929); followed by cabbages, watermelons and poponi, onions and garlic, artichokes, thistles, fennel, celery. These products cross our borders and fuel a considerable export;

The main tree crop in Italy is the vine, which occupies about 4 million hectares, of which about 1,030,000 are specialized crops, the rest of mixed crops (associated with other crops, mostly herbaceous); an approximate information allows us to calculate that the actual product is equal to that which would be obtained from 1,920,000 hectares of exclusive vineyards, which is equivalent to more than 6% of the total area of ​​Italy. No country dedicates such a large area to vines (France and Spain about 3%); however, it has decreased in the last twenty years (by approximately 10%) and is still tending to decrease. Viticulture is practiced in all regions of Italy; the exclusive vineyard absolutely predominates in southern Italy and in the islands, where the climate is purely Mediterranean; in central and northern Italy it prevails, especially in the hills, the promiscuous culture. The grape harvest varies from 60 to 90 million quintals, of which about 95% is destined for winemaking. Wine production – subject, as is well known, to great fluctuations – in recent years has remained between 33 and 47 million hectoliters (average of the five-year period 1926-31: about 40 million); it decreased considerably compared to the pre-war period (average of the five-year period 1909-13: 46 million), indeed in the years 1930-32 it markedly accentuated this decrease. However, this does not affect all Italian regions; it is highest in Sicily and relevant in Puglia, Campania, Marche, Piedmont and Veneto; in this last region it is partly attributed to the consequences, still alive today, of the devastation caused by the war; elsewhere it is mainly due to phylloxera;

Italy Agriculture 3