Why is the Italian tomato at risk: what's going on?

Why is the Italian tomato at risk: what’s going on?

According to Coldiretti, due to Italy effects of climate change – Between hailstorm, storm, flood and heat wave – likely to occur less tomatoesNot reaching the projected 5.6 billion kilos for 2023, while at national borders we are seeing a +50% jump in imports of Chinese tomato paste, which costs half the tricolor due to the exploitation of political prisoners and minority Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang Is. ,

The complaint comes on the basis of data from one of the main associations representing and aiding Italian agriculture World Processing Tomato CouncilWhich highlights a scenario in which – Coldiretti and Filiera Italia outline – China overtakes Italy in the world ranking of industrial tomato producers in 2023 with 7.3 billion kilos.

how much do we risk losing

lose competitiveness and efficiency In an area such as tomato harvesting, this could be a major blow for Italy.

“The Made in Italy tomato – explains Coldiretti and Filiera Italia – represents a fundamental component of the Mediterranean diet and true Italian cuisine which is a candidate for inclusion by UNESCO in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”.

It is no coincidence that, as stated in the Coldiretti press release, “In Italy, about 70,000 hectares of tomato sauce are cultivated, Puglia is the main center of Made in Italy sauce in the south and 84% is concentrated in about 18,000 hectares.” in Foggia, while Emilia Romagna is the center of red gold with 26,000 hectares to the north, more than halfway between Piacenza and Parma. Nationally, the tomato supply chain comprises a total of about 7,000 agricultural companies, more than 100 processing Companies are included. employs 10,000 peoplefor the total turnover that was reached in the previous year i 4.4 billion euros,

Therefore, the stakes are high.

China overtakes Italy

I production problemsIn this case, they are separate but all responsible for the negative effects and consequences of the climate crisis. Recorded delays in planting tomato seedlings in rural areas due to inclement climate, in fact, also include increases in energy products and raw materials, which is reflected in tomato production costs, which are 30% higher than the historical average. Is. Differences in fuel costs and transportation logistics infrastructure.

This is even though tomato farmers are paid only between 15 and 17 cents per kilo. Therefore, “for a 700 ml bottle of puree sold for 1.6 euros on average, only 9.4% is related to the recognized value of tomatoes in the region, while – say Coldiretti and Filiera Italia – 90.6% of the price is the margin of the commercial is distribution, industrial production costs, cost of bottle, transportation, cap, label and advertising”.

After the wine alarm (which we told you about here), another problem for the supply chain, which appears in this context Italy ranks third as a world producer overthrown by china which competes unfairly by violating human and workers’ rights, to the extent that the president of Coldiretti Ettore Prandini and the managing director of Filiera Italia, Luigi Scardomaglia, wrote a letter to the Minister of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry, Francesco Lollobrigida, condemning that ” Incidents of fraud have resurfaced due to price differences between tomato production from the Chinese industry and concentrates from oriental and Italian production, which are difficult to identify because the product is subjected to high dilution to obtain different derivatives of tomato. is subjected to. ,

“Furthermore – write Prandini and Scordamaglia – 80% of Chinese tomatoes are grown in the Xinjiang region where the Chinese government has long practiced policies of repression and genocide of the local Uyghur population with mass sterilization, concentration camps, slavery and forced labour. Agriculture sector. Human rights violations have been confirmed in recent months by the United Nations and the European Parliament itself.

crisis recovery proposals

With an appeal addressed to the government, the spokesman for Coldiretti and Filiera Italia called for a series Proposals that can help overcome this crisis, This is because, in addition to creating unfair competition with respect to the entire Italian and European industrial tomato supply chain, “is an ethical, human and social justice issue that requires due attention”, the representatives wrote.

“Chinese tomato paste is another example of products imported and derived from human rights violations”. For this reason, following the example of the United States, Prandini and Scordamaglia have asked Italy to become the spokesperson of the European Commission to request “a complete ban on the import of Chinese tomato paste, especially if it is from the Xinjiang region”. comes”.

US, followed by UK and Canada have already approved two regulations that tend to prevent imports Tomato paste from China, where human rights are violated and forced labor is exploited, should be stopped at ports, effectively creating a blockade on those imports.

However, some countries in Europe are moving in the opposite direction, For example, the Netherlands has asked the EU Commission to grant tariff quotas to allow duty-free imports of tomatoes from China. Because according to the Netherlands, EU production will not be enough to meet demand.

However, Coldiretti and Filiera Italia have taken a stand against the Dutch request because – according to both associations – it is not. reduction in tomato production To justify the opening of zero-duty quotas by industry in the EU.