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Cia presents “Territory as Destiny,” the contribution of Italian farmers to the “Milan Charter”

In Rome, in the Senate Library, the Confederation closes the cycle of “ad hoc” initiatives with a document “of ideas” for the construction of a sustainable economic, social and productive model. President Scanavino: “Faced with the challenges of the future, the multifunctional value of the sector, which triggers processes that are increasingly integrated with the environment, tourism, culture, and welfare, is decisive.”

Using fewer resources to produce more with the support of research and innovation; juxtaposing the supply chains of large numbers with “tight-knit” networks adapted to territories; reversing the city-country relationship by taking on a “multideal” dimension. In Italy alone over the next 10 to 15 years, agriculture-related activities will displace more than 40 billion with the prospect of providing more than 200 thousand new jobs by 2020.

In order to get to “feed the planet” in the face of global competition, scenarios of change and the challenges of the future, the solution “is not a world without farmers, an agriculture handed over to food multinationals, financial corporations and investment funds, but a world with ‘plural’ agricultures and with farmers who are more protagonists, capable of triggering processes that are more integrated with the environment, tourism, culture, welfare, between city and country, between producers and consumers.” With these words, Cia national president Dino Scanavino presented, today in Rome in the Sala degli Atti parlamentari at the Senate Library, “The Territory as Destiny,” a document summarizing the cycle of initiatives that the Confederation has carried out over the past year as the contribution of Italian farmers to the “Milan Charter,” the programmatic manifesto that will represent the “moral” legacy of Expo 2015.

From Mantua to Bologna, from Naples to Florence, passing through Campobasso, Urbino, Fontanafredda, Gallipoli and Orvieto, the Cia in its meetings discussed the strengths but also the criticalities of the primary sector, analyzed data and sought with institutions and representatives of politics and the academic and business world useful insights and reflections to “identify the characters of an economic, social and productive model to which we hope to refer in the future -said Scanavino- valid not only at the Italian and European level, but for other areas of the Planet.”

What came out is that, with respect to the new challenges ahead, once again the multifunctional value of agriculture proves decisive, which “in addition to ensuring food production, plays a crucial role in the production of public goods,” the document says, “such as the affirmation and preservation of the quality of landscapes, the maintenance of biodiversity, the stability of the climate and the ability to mitigate natural disasters such as floods, droughts and fires. Above all, however, “the enormous challenge facing humanity, and one that the planet’s farmers in particular will have to help overcome, is to use fewer resources, to produce more, while ensuring global food security,” and in this challenge “the role of innovation and research in countering and managing climate change will be inescapable, to use more sustainable production techniques, decreasing the impact of their activities, preserving soil quality and fertility for future generations, and making better use of water,” and also “to better explore (scientifically and ethically) the consequences of using genetic modification.”

But agriculture teaches more than just this: “Italy, with its diverse territory, its thousands of histories and cultures, productively debunks the idea that agriculture linked to chains of large numbers is more productive than that of tight meshes. Indeed it is either extensive (North American models) with low yields and large areas or intensive, with heavy chemical and energy inputs (increasingly unsustainable European models). But above all, the supply chains of large numbers, based on standardized models that do not know how to adapt to the territories -we read in the Cia document- often create marginality and abandonment.” It is clear, then, that “increasingly, all communities will have to guard their balances with great care through ‘tight-knit’ supply chains and networks in which the influx of large foodstuffs and the presence of large markets is integrated with productions (food and non-food) consistent with the vocation, identity and organized management of the territory, the possibility of taking advantage of its landscapes, its history, its roads, its attractions, its energies. This is true in the regions of Central Africa, as in those of the great metropolitan areas of the East and the United States, as in our European regions, so loaded with cultures.”

And again, faced with the challenge of change, “agriculture must overthrow the traditional and (no longer) subordinate city-country relationship,” the confederal document stresses, assuming a “multideal dimension in which, beyond food products and material and immaterial services, the centrality and contribution of values is affirmed to build a different model of development, of society, of relations between citizens that places man and his territory at the center of every proposal. That is, it takes charge of the broader issues of contemporaneity, reorganizing the capacity to produce sustainably, to ensure food fairly by restoring its value and affirming it as a right, actively contributing to food education as a prerequisite for countering the various forms of food waste, to manage natural resources capillarly, and to set up a new welfare.”

In short, “there is no future without agriculture,” said the Cia president. Our contribution to the Expo Final Declaration is dropped into a reality that already tells us this.” In fact, in Italy alone, agriculture and agribusiness produce a turnover close to 300 billion a year. There are more than 20 thousand agritourisms scattered throughout the territory and more than 80 thousand farms developing multiple activities, from energy production to agri-nurseries, from social and educational farms to the maintenance of green areas, including urban ones. Already, this multifunctional “movement” produces a lot, but there is ample room for economic growth, and it is reasonable to estimate that in the next 10 to 15 years, agriculture-related activities will shift more than 40 billion euros a year with the prospect of providing between 200,000 and 300 new jobs by 2020. So “food, health, employment, sustainability, universal rights, equity and social cohesion,” Scanavino concluded. This is agriculture’s contribution to the future we want.”

In addition to President Dino Scanavino, speakers at the initiative included Senate Deputy Vice President Valeria Fedeli; Expo 2015 Scientific Committee Chair Claudia Sorlini; Milan Deputy Mayor Ada Lucia De Cesaris; and Professor Francesco Adornato of the University of Macerata.

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