Allocation of grazing land thanks to the Soccida contract: a ray of hope for small-scale farmers.
The economic crisis that has weighed upon Italy for more than six years has not only created difficulties for individual citizens but has also thrown the production sector into crisis, often with devastating long-term consequences.
The country’s livestock sector has had its share of lashing from the crisis. Small businesses in particular frequently do not have the resources to endure economic stagnation and recession for long, and have been hit especially hard. Small-scale farmers, traditionally defenders of the biodiversity of the species they breed, are helpless faced with falling prices, rising taxes, higher fixed costs, and banks’ lack of liquidity. Historically, this vital productive sector invested the earnings from its production into extending its grazing grounds, but the current difficulties faced by the sector restricts farmers’ economic means, which often limits farmers to simply selling their produce or to reducing their grazing grounds to below the threshold of sustainability for their business.
This slow strangling of the sector has not only resulted in widespread job losses but has also pushed small-scale farmers to look for ways to lower their costs, which frequently results in lower-quality produce.
The Soccida contract, a mutually beneficial agreement between livestock farmers and producers, has proven to be a helping hand for both. Small-scale farmers are protected from the risk of being driven to sell their land, and producers are assured of the quality of the animals that they buy from the farmers.
Fumagalli has engaged in such contracts with farmers, providing them with pigs, feed and productive know-how, while the farmers provide the grazing ground and the labour as well as a commitment to Fumagalli’s rigorous standards.
Once the pigs have grown to full size, the farmers are paid in kind, retaining a certain percentage of the pigs for themselves without restriction on their subsequent sale. In this way farmers are able to continue their activity without giving up their hard-earned land, and Fumagalli enjoys the assurance of high-quality meats.