Internal Areas die
March 2017 – The inland and mountain areas are being depopulated. In Apennine zones, from north to south, with greater emphasis in the islands, but the phenomenon is most conspicuous, albeit in a more contained, it is in place even in those alpine. This trend, which has continued for over half a century (and in some Alpine areas for over a century), has meant that upland areas, which account for almost three-fifths of the national area, harboring today only one-fifth of the Italian population. In the collective imagination this process seems to be natural and inevitable because the opportunities of urban and metropolitan areas look much better. However the phenomenon brings with it economic, environmental and social important. The abandonment of these areas, in fact, means weakening economic activities – including agriculture, livestock and tourism – which in these contexts are the most natural vocation as possible. At the same time exposes the territory to environmental risks (forest fires, landslides, neglect of the landscape) that affect the entire community. From the social point of view makes it more expensive essential services for citizens, from transportation to communications, health services in those schools. Also witnessing a concentration increasingly daring in big cities, with all that implies in terms of quality of life and environment. We must recognize that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) from various programming cycles takes care of the problem and provides some measures to support agriculture in these territories. The results, however, are not satisfactory, since these actions to date have not been able to slow the exodus and boost agriculture of the mountains in order to facilitate an increase in the number of employees. It is evident that it is not (only) with the subsidies that you can reverse the trend, but it is necessary to recover first of all agricultural productive function, with a particular attention to that of the internal areas and also mountain through adequate enhancement products. The cattle in the mountains, for example, produce less milk than those intensive plain, but unquestionably better quality, thanks to the pastures, feeding and for general environmental conditions. Yet the price of milk imposed by large groups is about the same, regardless of the quality and origin. That’s why this agriculture needs, even before subsidies and allowances, tools capable of making recognizable productions in the eyes of who does the shopping.
Of course serves also intervene in social terms, by introducing a cultural approach able to return to the mountain palatability. Suffice it to say that the same rules governing aid, in reference to these territories, using adjectives such as “marginal” or “disadvantaged.” Now, putting aside the fact that in Italy, a map showing the inland areas are central, while the margins there are the coasts, how do you say it is a disadvantaged area in which the air quality of the food and of natural resources provides a potentially higher welfare than elsewhere. The disadvantages were created by an investment policy and an economic model to say the least short-sighted and destabilizing.
Because obviously, beyond the proclamations, the attitude of the institutions almost always ends to focus the attention and care interventions of the territory mainly in urban areas and big cities, where, not coincidentally, is also the largest number of people.
The periphery is increasingly depopulated (one in seven people in the last 25 years is gone), with nearly two million empty houses (one every three is not occupied) and increasingly elderly population (two for each young man). It is the photograph of the small Italian towns that emerges from a recent study by Cresme for Legambiente and ANCI on common below 5,000.
An Italy small but deep soul ranging from the Alps to the Apennines to reach the smaller islands, 5,627 small towns covering 69.9% of the total of the municipalities of Italy (8047). Of these, according to the study, nearly half (2,430) those who suffer from a strong demographic and economic hardship, small villages that occupy 29.7% of the national land area, more than 89 thousand square kilometers, a population density reaches 36 inhabitants per sq km; almost 13 times less than common over 5 thousand inhabitants.
Particularly in the last 25 years (1991-2015) in these territories there was a decline in the working population (675 thousand fewer inhabitants, ie -6.3% in the towns under 5000 inhabitants), 1 a week if they have gone, an increase in the elderly (over 65 years compared to young people up to 14 years increased by 83%), with more than 2 to 1 young elderly. The empty houses are 1,991,557 against 4,345,843 occupied: one every three is empty.
To overcome this social disaster, and consequently ecological and environmental, must reverse a political logic that has seen in finance and the centralization of powers and decisions a disease without the possibility of no cure.
You have to totally rethink the concept of the state, the economic and financial models and systems of social organization. The goal should be to work on a socio-ecological model of proximity of production systems and services; on a criterion of enhancement and recovery of the diversity of processes and social functions and on a concept of sobriety of the energy production and distribution systems of the same.
In Italy the extraordinarily beautiful villages, there is a system of parks and protected areas, by far the most important in Europe, which attracts over 100 million visitors a year; by religious paths, historical and natural to the hundreds of agricultural products with quality mark; from 10.9 million hectares of forests, constantly growing to hundreds of common model for recycling that are candidates to circular economy gyms, to those who bet on renewable energy and aim to be fossil free.
But to do this, as mentioned must completely change the model of production and services away from agriculture. Not an agricultural model is more feasible calibrated on the quality standards of large retailers that have nothing to do with the ecological quality standards. They are antithetical. It is therefore necessary to recover not only the agricultural areas on the above principles but take the empty houses and historic buildings; it is vital to put a value on forests giving concession public forest funds to cooperatives and local companies by defining transparent procedures for the award of concessions, under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture, through calls for proposals that reward local businesses and management leading sustainable building certified local supply chains.
We must allow for local production and distribution of energy from renewable sources, on proximity models and size reduction, so as to achieve biomass plants, hydroelectric, wind, solar small size placed at the service of users at the same communal area.
We have to understand that mass and energy to travel emit degrees amount of entropy, increasing exponentially with increasing distance (but here the finance and national policy, European and world speak, in spite of proclamations, another language.
Recalibration of this company’s organizational model will have the medium-long term effects on the following components:
• Redistribution of the population with reverse migration from small towns to large cities;
• Decrease the energy needs of the big centers, staying these things, become more energy-intensive and therefore less and less manageable;
• Repopulation of the mountain and inner areas with improvement of the ecological and structural balances for the benefit of an improvement in the hydrogeological no longer governable both from an economic point of view that administrative.
We must start from an agriculture based precisely on these three concepts namely on nearby models, moderation and diversity.
Just agricultural biodiversity currently definitely arouses more interest than ever in view of the policies geared towards the agricultural sector of our country. At the end of 2015, in Italy was approved a law for the protection of biodiversity in agriculture, which in addition to setting up a register, includes a series of actions to monitor and preserve endangered genetic resources.
Moreover, many regional calls of Rural Development Programs (RDP) 2014-2020 contemplate measures for biodiversity conservation and farmers who conserve, especially economic incentives.
But despite the safeguards, however, biodiversity continues to decline: there are many plant species and endangered animal breeds from extinction. And probably if you continue to address the issue only under the environmental profiles, social and cultural (though important), without having to drive all the way down the enormous opportunities, including economic, that may be generated due to the recovery and dissemination of local products, will always very difficult to maintain the consistency of the genetic resources available to farmers.
This is a sign that the setting “politics” of the PSR is considered complete and totally also review from the perspective of bureaucratic management, functional and management.
That’s why in agriculture it is necessary to switch from the protection concepts and housing to those of promotion and expansion of biodiversity and of the products that result from it. We need a change of pace from the policy, so you can orient the holding by all. The benefits would be many, for farmers and more. First, because our agriculture needs to escape from a competition in which the premium choice almost exclusively the lowest price.
This logic on the one hand stifles producers who can not (or will not) endlessly chasing the reduction in unit production costs, the other inevitably leads to a lowering of the quality of food production, which does not help at all to consumers. In Italy then, biodiversity should be the main strength of agriculture and food, because we still have a huge heritage, when compared to many other countries, to cultivate vegetables and largely underused animal breeds, as large numbers of our agriculture They focus mostly on a few varieties.
In addition, agriculture set unless approved productions offers citizens greater choice and, probably, and facilitates the development of local economy mechanisms. All this without considering that the most important benefits are environmental, because the water, air quality, land is closely related to the preservation of biodiversity, and the best way to preserve this resource is to make sure that does not disappear from our crops.
Not to mention the high health costs linked to a “poisoned” population from a food system impractical both from the scientific point of view (misconception of chemicals in agriculture) and technical (wrong productive setting only based on economic returns and not on the ecological energy and social).
A final leap you will have if biodiversity is put at the center of every strategic decision to agricultural policy: this would revolutionize not only the agricultural sector, but the entire national food system.
The country has to be rebuilt but the policy pursues a “Phantom of the Opera” that is no longer riesumabile nor recoverable.