|Authors: ||F. Alvisi, C. Malagoli, D. Regazzi|
The development of Italy's tomato industry in general, and of the crop for processing in particular, has been dictated by socio-economic factors and EEC agricultural policy.
By the mid-1970s investment in the sector registered a decline of 30%, reflecting both the worldwide economic recession of the period and an Italian industry whose competitive edge had been eroded mainly by high labour coste for fresh product.
This situation elicited EEC intervention in 1978 to assure growers an adequate return and to make processors once again competitive in the world market.
There followed a period of marked expansion of the country's tomato industry: by the early 1980s the approximately 140 thousand hectares being cultivated were producing six million tonnes, about 70% of which earmarked for processing.
The downside of this boom was the considerable increase in supply over demand of derivate-products that eventually glutted the market and resulted in ballooning inventories and falling prices.
The stage was thus set for the next round of EEC intervention, which at first involved measures to reduce the subsidies granted to processors and later introduced a quota system to limit supply.
Italy's tomato output has thus dropped in the past few years to 4.5 million tonnes (25% less than in 1984), 3.3 million (more than 70% of which are earmarked for processing (Feg. 1).
The country's main growing areas are in the south: the Apulia and Campania Regions combined account for just under half of the nation's entire output (Fig. 2). In the north the Emilia-Romagna Region is a leading producer, supplying about 15% of total production.
The present paper reports the findings of a cost-benefit analysis of the Italian tomato industry in terms of main product area: tomato purée-paste in the Emilia-Romagna, peeled tomato and purée-paste in both the Campania and Apulia.
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