Processed fruit and vegetables exports were up 7.8% outside of Europe. The data was released by Food&Drink Europe. There was a 1% increase in production and a 1.7% increase in turnover, meaning that there was an improvement in added value. The employment trend is parallel to that of the turnover (+1.7%). (See chart below)
"There was a 4% increase in exports outside of the EU with peaks of 10% for meat, 0.6% for wine and 7.8% for processed fruit and vegetables. Italy registered +0.3% for industrial production and +2.2% for its turnover, i.e. higher than the European average. Unfortunately, the situation is not as positive if we consider the entire chain, especially the agricultural part. The trust index calculated by Copa-Cogeca started to pick up again, but remains negative," explains economist Gianluca Bagnara.
The Italian index, calculated by Ismea, is even worse. The general dissatisfaction of the agricultural sector has improved slightly in the past six months, but not enough for a positive sign.
"The level of trust also reflects the dissatisfaction with the current economic situation as well as a more positive attitude towards the future. Italian farmers are dissatisfied because of the continuous drop in prices. Margins have decreased and profits are limited. This situation is met with low consumption levels and a slowdown of international commerce. Nonetheless, farmers believe things will improve in the next 2-3 years."
What emerges both in Europe and Italy is the detachment between the agricultural and industrial parts of the chain. The concept of food and agricultural chain is still frail and, as a consequence, policies are often clashing. While, when talking about agriculture, reference is often made to help and interventions, market and export opportunities are analysed when talking about food.
"The market model based only on transnational partnerships relying on objective prices between suppliers, processers and traders is clearly inefficient. The different interests of the members of the chain limit their response to change in supply/demand and fleeting partnerships limit productivity and innovation."
"Policies are needed that promote an integrated model for cooperation in a system focusing on creating value. Innovation focuses more on the production process than on product development. Therefore, public-private partnerships should not be made to manage public funds but to create access to the market."