Italian agriculture holds a record: it is the most sustainable in the world
But it faces many challenges, starting with that of training, in order to align the skills of those working in the sector with the demands of Agriculture 4.0.
"And when we talk about training we cannot stop at higher technical education or university: continuous investment is needed," said Ettore Prandini, national president of Coldiretti. The 45th edition of EIMA, the world exhibition of agricultural machinery, became the stage for a discussion among the players in the supply chain on the agriculture of the future, between innovation and technology, thanks to the meeting/debate promoted by Maschio Gaspardo. Many open issues were on the speakers' table.
From the exploitation of new digital technologies for the promotion of Made in Italy abroad to a new partnership with agro-mechanics. From the opening of a supply chain debate also extended to large-scale organised distribution, to the awareness that investment in human resources is an added value. "If you are an attractive company, if you give young people continuous training and dignity, they reciprocate with creativity," said Claudio Destro, managing director of Maccarese SpA.
"We," continues Destro, "draw from agricultural institutes and universities, but to our young employees we provide continuous training to make them grow constantly". If for Prandini, Italian agriculture is a model to be exported, putting everything to good use to make it known beyond our borders, for Gianni Dalla Bernardina, president of Cai, the Confederation of Agro-Mechanics and Farmers, a new pact is needed. "We must get out of the logic that agro-mechanics does not represent an added value for agriculture," argues Dalla Bernardina. While for Raffaele Garofalo (Fattorie Garofalo), "we must discuss the supply chain with the new government, especially in the relationship with the large-scale retail trade". In the background there is the limitation of the Italian agricultural system in comparison with the rest of Europe, namely the average small size of its farms. But there is also the prospect, according to Prandini, of "increasing our production capacity by working with all the players in the chain and creating the conditions to transmit the professionalism of our companies, which is also a defence against the phenomenon of Italian sounding". One thing is certain: according to Garofalo, "agriculture 4.0 is changing all production processes and we must seize the opportunities it offers, especially in the South. It is essential to reduce all production costs and this can only be done with technological innovation". The road is marked out. "It will be inevitable to continue in this direction," Destro argues, "because today with precision farming you get production cost savings of between 50 and 60% per hectare.