Central and southern Italy lead the growth in companies in the DOP and IGP “protected origin” food and wine universe, according to the annual ISTAT report on quality agri-food products.
In particular, producers now number 75,483, up by 1.2%, which is an average of the 2.5% drop recorded in northern Italy and the 4.7% and 3.3% rise, respectively, in the south and central Italy.
In turn, processors have grown in number (+4.5% overall), led by the south (+8.6%) and central regions (+7%), and stable in the north (+0.2%).
“In general the ten-year trend is confirmed, since producers have gone from 55,000 to 75,000 between 2005 and 2015, farms from 29,000 to 39,000, processors from 5,700 to 7,100 and total surface cultivated in DOP and IGP production has gone from 109,000 to 170,000 hectares: a clear sign that farmers and producers believe in the system of denominations of origin,” the report said.
Among individual sectors, the one that counts the greatest number of companies, again, is cheese (also thanks to veritable ‘DOP giants’ like Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano, Gorgonzola, Asiago and Buffalo Mozzarella from Campania, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana): 27,042 workers (though down by 3.1%).
The cheese segment is also the one that’s seen the greatest number of dropouts: 412 farmers have left the certified system over the past year.
Ranking second in number of operatives is the olive oil segment, which totals 20,327, though the sector is extremely fragmented, with a turnover far below that of the dairy sector.
In terms of number of appellations, Italy firmly maintains its leadership in Europe, and the top sectors are fruit, vegetables and cereals (106 products), cheeses (51 certified appellations), extra virgin olive oil (43) and meat preparations (40).
“Over three quarters of producers operate in mountain and hillside areas, which shows the DOP and IGP system’s major role in safeguarding territory in the inland areas,” reads the report.
On the geographical level, over half of producers is concentrated in three regions, Sardinia (19.7%), Tuscany (17%) and Trentino Alto Adige (15.5%), respectively specializing in the dairy sector, olives and olive oils, and fruit.