Energy, Coldiretti alarm: from fields to 9 billion staked tables

The effects of price increases on the bill in an analysis: “115 costs to produce food”

Agricultural and food production in Italy absorb over 11% of total industrial energy consumption for about 13.3 million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe) per year. This is what emerges fromColdiretti’s analysis
on the basis of ENEA data on the effects of higher energy bills. The explosion in the cost of gas – underlines Coldiretti – therefore has a devastating impact on the supply chain, from field to table, at a time when the drought has devastated crops with estimated losses of 6 billion euros, equal to 10 % of production.

A deadly mix that will cost Italian families almost 9 billion euros in 2022 for food spending alone, due to the effect of inflation that mainly affects the weakest categories, according to Coldiretti’s analysis, based on Istat data on Italian consumption and inflation trends in the first seven months of the year. Leading the ranking is vegetables which this year will cost a total of 1.97 billion more to the families of the boot – Coldiretti underlines – and precedes bread, pasta and rice on the podium, with an increase of 1.65 billion, and meat. and cured meats, for which expenditure is estimated to be 1.54 billion higher than in 2021.

If prices for families run, the increase in costs severely affects the entire agri-food chain starting from the countryside – reports Coldiretti – where more than 1 farm out of 10 (13%) is in such a critical situation as to lead to the cessation of the activity but well over 1/3 of the national total (34%) is in any case forced at this time to work in a condition of negative income due to price increases, according to Crea.

In agriculture there are in fact increases in costs ranging from + 170% of fertilizers to + 90% of feeds to + 129% for diesel but increases concern the entire food chain with glass costing more than 30% more than last year, but there was an increase of 15% for tetrapack, 35% for labels, 45% for cardboard, 60% for tinplate cans, up to 70% for plastic, according to the Coldiretti analysis

In the agricultural system, direct energy consumption includes fuel for tractors, greenhouses and transport, while indirect consumption includes those deriving from plant protection products, fertilizers and the use of materials such as plastic (4.7 Mtoe). On the other hand, the food sector requires – continues Coldiretti – large quantities of energy, especially heat and electricity, for the processes of production, transformation, conservation of products of animal and vegetable origin, operation of machines and air conditioning of production and work environments ( 8.6 Mtoe).

This is a heavy energy bill despite the fact that over time there has been a reduction in energy consumption thanks to new techniques and the commitment of farmers for greater sustainability of production, also with the adoption of 4.0 technologies to optimize the use of production. Without forgetting that to improve the energy balance of the supply chain there are investments in the circular economy with the production of bioenergy, from photovoltaics on the roofs of rural stables and sheds to the enhancement of farm waste with biomethane that must be adequately supported.

“It is necessary to work for supply chain agreements between agricultural and industrial companies with precise qualitative and quantitative objectives and fair prices that never fall below production costs as required by the new law to combat unfair practices and speculation” affirms the president of Coldiretti Ettore Prandini underlining that “immediate action must be taken to contain expensive energy and production costs with immediate measures to save companies and stables and structural measures to plan the future also with the development of energy alternatives that the agricultural sector offers, from photovoltaics to roofs of stables and farmhouses without biomethane soil consumption “.