In recent years, the Italian agriculture has undergone profound changes that can be summarized as follows: the direct management has become prominent in the farm and the increase in firm’s size has occurred with greater use of non-family labour, land management, and services outside the company. The concentration of farms in lowland areas has also expanded the existing territorial dichotomies in Italian agriculture, since these changes were faster in the North than in the South of Italy. Despite the increase in firm’s size, which remains lower than those of the others European Countries, there are still significant constraints related to the lack of aggregation and bargaining power of the supply that express the firm’s inability to support incomes and employment in agriculture within different agri-food supply chains and districts that characterize the Italian system.
Multifunctionality can be the new unifying paradigm to bring post-modern agriculture in accordance with the new societal demands. It is emphasized that in addition to producing food and fibre, agriculture provides a wide range of non-commodity goods and services, shapes the environment, affects social and cultural systems and contributes to economic growth. Beyond the capacity of the agriculture to produce positive externalities, multifunctionality assumes an economic value when it becomes a business strategy to diversify firm’s activities in response to the demand for goods and services expressed by citizens and consumers.
The objective of the workshop is to outline the benefits associated to multifunctionality through the presentation of some Best Practices that may represent interesting experiences for the Italian farms. The event will involve industry associations such as Confagricoltura, Confederazione Italiana Agricoltura, Coldiretti, Federalimentare, Osservatorio Regionale Dieta Mediterranea, representatives of the Business and Political world, Education and Training Institutes, and other potential stakeholders, in order to boost a process of discussion and assessment of possible actions for an effective sustainable development of multifunctionality in the Italian agriculture.