The espionage case discovered in Rome, and all its natural consequences at the diplomatic level, risk aggravating the clash with Russia which has already cost the Made in Italy food industry 200 million euros on average per year for non-exports, to because of the embargo decided by Putin, which still affects an important list of European products with the ban on the entry of fruit and vegetables, cheeses, meat and cured meats, but also fish, as a retaliation for the sanctions of the European Union. This is what emerges from Coldiretti’s analysis presented at the Summit with the Government at the congress center organized with Filiera Italia Rospigliosi in Rome, in reference to the military espionage operation that led to the arrest of an Italian navy officer and expulsion of two Russian military officials.
The agri-food sector – explains Coldiretti – is the only sector still directly affected by the embargo decided by Russia with decree no. 778 of 7 August 2014 due to the crisis in Ukraine and renewed several times which led to the complete elimination of exports to Russia of products on the black list, from Parmigiano Reggiano to Grana Padano, from Parma ham to San Daniele ham, but also fruit and vegetables.
The thing is even more worrying, considering that in 2020, despite the pandemic, a new record was registered for agri-food exports, as certified by Istat data: 46.1 billion euros of which 39.1 billion of food, beverages and tobacco products, up by + 1.9% on 2019, and 6.9 billion euros of agricultural, forestry and fishing products, up by + 0.7%. Given that it has partially mitigated the drops resulting from the closures of the Horeca (which cost the sector about 4.1 billion euros). Overall, in fact, thetotal exports of Italy, in 2020, suffered a drop of -9.7%, while agri-food it represented the only voice growth in addition to pharmaceuticals (+ 3.8%), confirming itself as the economic, social and employment pillar of the Belpaese (overall it is worth more than 10% of exports totaling € 433.5 billion).
According to Ismea data, only exports to Spain and Russia in fact had a negative trend. The diplomatic crisis cannot therefore worsen the already rather compromised picture, towards an important outlet for Made in Italy products. Suffice it to say that in 2013, the year before the European trade embargo against Russia, Italian exports had nearly + 10% with almost 2 billion euros in value. In 2019, our country was still the seventh country in the ranking of the main exporters in the Russian federation, with almost 1 billion euros in value.
To the direct damage of the lack of exports to Russia is added, as Coldiretti states – the mockery of the spread on the market of imitation products that have nothing to do with Made in Italy made in Russia (Parmesan, mozzarella, robiola, etc.) or in countries not affected by the embargo such as scamorza, mozzarella, provoletta, mascarpone and ricotta Made in Belarus, but also salami Milano, Parmesan and Gorgonzola of Swiss production and Parmesan or Reggianito of Brazilian or Argentine origin. The damage – concludes Coldiretti – also concerns Italian catering in Russia which, after a rapid explosion, risks being curbed due to the lack of the main ingredients. In some cases the dishes have disappeared from the menus while, in others, they have been replaced by local or foreign tarot cards without, however, there being a clear indication in the menus in the vast majority of restaurants.