Following the year 2017, penalized by the unfavourable weather trends, in 2018 Italian agriculture has regained a positive role in contributing to the national economy (+0.9%): this is what emerges from the 2018 report drafted by ISMEA (the Italian institute for food and agricultural market services).
Employment in the sector has also grown in 2018 (+0.6% compared to 2017), as a result of a 1.6% increase in employees and a slight decrease in freelance workers. The number of agricultural businesses registered in the Italian Company Register has slightly fallen – about 750,000 as at the end of 2018 – which may be ascribed to a medium/long-term process of sector rationalization.
The data related to young farming businesses (run by managers under 35), recording a 4.1% growth, is also quite intriguing.
The food industry sector is even more dynamic, with a 2.7% increase in added value, though slower than 2017 when it recorded +3.8%. Employees in the sector have also grown (+3.1% in 2018, following a 1.9% increase in 2017), as opposed to the number of businesses remaining essentially equal to the 2017 figure, just under 71 thousand.
Foreign food and agricultural trade has suffered strongly due to global uncertainty and the slowdown of the world economy. After a +7.4% growth recorded in 2017, Italian food and agricultural exports – worth close to 41.8 billion euros – have only increased by 1.2% in 2018.