“The government must approve a new flow decree as soon as possible: only in this way will it be possible to prevent part of the fruit and vegetable production from being left in the fields and to secure the harvest “. The request comes from Cristiano Fini, a few weeks ago national president of the CIA-Italian farmers, worried by the fact that in all of Italy fifty thousand seasonal workers are missing and “at this moment Italy cannot afford to lose part of the crops”. Especially farmers cannot afford it, caught in the grip of price increases: according to Ismea, production costs increased by 18.4% in the first quarter of 2022.
This is why Fini relaunches the idea of a pact with consumers: “We cannot go back on sustainability and the green turning point, but it is clear that the costs of the ecological transition, increased even more by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, cannot be paid only by the farmer, but must be distributed along the supply chain” . How? “We need to be aware that to save the environment I have to pay more for the shopping cart. Increasing the price per kilo of courgettes by five cents for the consumer is not an unbearable burden, but for the producer it can make a big difference “. Without forgetting, however, that “government intervention is needed to increase the purchasing power of families and urgent action is needed because we are already witnessing a reduction in the consumption of red meat and fish. These are the first warning signs of a situation that will become more critical in the autumn when the dynamics of inflation will make the greatest repercussions felt ”. And he adds: “At the moment there is a strong consumer orientation to favor PDO and Igt products but we must do everything to prevent families from choosing other paths and preferring products with the lowest price”.
Fini, 50, from Castelfranco Emilia, in the province of Modenahas a 13-hectare farm that produces organic wine, is convinced that the main way to prevent inflation from eating Italians’ paychecks is to resort to “tax leverage, that is, cutting the tax wedge and reducing the ‘VAT on agri-food products ”.
But to allow the Italian agri-food sector to remain competitive it is necessary “to extend the intervention of the government to calm the cost of diesel and energy because there are some supply chains, from animal husbandry to fruit and vegetables but also to wine that are paying an ever higher bill”. From his point of view, supply chains should “be considered strategic for the food security of our country”.
And the issue of labor is also central. “The flows decree is insufficient and if we add to this the fact that the citizenship income is also discouraging seasonal workers and that the superbonus in construction has attracted many workers who were previously in the fields, the situation is worrying”. This is why Fini asks the “government to approve a new flow decree and identify the tools that can guarantee greater flexibility in entry and exit”. In short, does the voucher return? “It is necessary to identify an instrument similar to the voucher, perhaps with different rules, but which guarantees greater flexibility”.
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