CONSERVATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL SPECIES
How the parameters of food consumption and biodiversity have changed over the last 20 years
The problem of food waste is becoming more and more worrying especially in our beautiful country. According to recent calculations it is estimated that in Italy 40% of fruit, vegetables and meat every day in Italy is wasted and the data from other countries also confirm this trend: in England every year 18 million tonnes of food are thrown away for an annual cost of 10 billion pounds; in Sweden on average each household wastes 25% of the food purchased. In the 27 countries of the union, 179 kg of food are wasted per capita per year. Recovering a portion of these foods would have great environmental and social benefits. Every year in Italy, before the food reaches our plates, we lose a quantity that could satisfy the food needs for the entire year of ¾ of the Italian population, that is about 45 ml of inhabitants. We could say that Italy loses as much food along the supply chain as what a country like Spain consumes every year, with 6 million tonnes of food ending up in the waste. It would be possible to recover food for a value of about one billion euros (value per kg of 3.8 euros) for a total of 580,402,025 meals a year, avoiding the emission of almost 300,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
It is as if we were throwing away 3% of our GDP.
Another aspect of the peculiarity and fragility of current production chains is the simplification of genetic diversity in agricultural production. A few decades ago Italy does not have a National Agricultural Plan; we go to the European negotiating tables always divided into regions that almost never pursue common objectives. There is no strategy. Some positive signs come from the State-Region Conference of 7 October 2010 with the announcement of the approval of the modification of the National Strategic Plan for Rural Development 2007-2013 programming, as well as the agreement on the "National Strategy for Biodiversity", prepared by MIPAAF ; The latter document recognizes the central role that agricultural and rural development policies have in safeguarding natural resources and protecting biodiversity.
This is a 1st step that connects the provisions of ReteNatura 2000 and the Habitat Directive and in favor of the integration process between agriculture and biodiversity and we must continue on this path. The loss of genetic diversity in the agricultural world is a phenomenon that affects not only the object of production but also the rural environment as a whole. The rarefaction of the agro-ecosystem with the disappearance of hedges, rows, groves, tree-lined bands in order to favor mechanization has led to the disappearance of organisms useful for biological control against adversity. Not only did the abandonment of certain agricultural practices also lead to the impoverishment of the ecosystem: the disappearance of rotations in favor of monoculture has led to a substantial reduction of organic matter in the soil and with it of useful microflora and microfauna.
The objective of multifunctionality that Europe asks of the agricultural world is therefore perfectly achieved if we start from biodiversity as a production factor: less standardized and more typical products, protection of natural resources, rediscovery of food and wine deposits, alternative tourist hospitality and use of the landscape with the agricultural entrepreneur as the main subject who must be the protagonist of these innovations and in the management of new production processes and of a modern rural policy
Dr. Antonella Di Matteo