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Huge Fall in Number of Agribusinesses in Italy

Businesses in Italy’s agriculture sector are suffering, or that’s what the figures produced by Italy’s national statistics bureau ISTAT suggest.

In 2003, there were 1.933 million agribusinesses in Italy. By 2010, that figure had fallen to 1.621 million.

Agribusiness rather than ‘farming ‘ is possibly a more appropriate term in the context of Italy, seeing as the data complied by ISTAT includes arable and pastoral farming, as well as the cultivation of olive, grapes and many other plants such as lemons, oranges and other fruits.

From the data below, you will note that the number of businesses peaked in 20o3 and then fell dramatically from 2004 and 2010. Note the 11.43% reduction in agribusinesses between 2004 and 2005.

Year Number of





2002 1.837
2003 1.955 6.42
2004 1.838 -5.98
2005 1.628 -11.43
2006 1.648 1.23
2007 1.623 -1.52
2008 1.630 0.43
2009 1.591 -2.39
2010 1.621 2.45

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Here’s the same data in chart format:

agribusinesses in Italy

From the chart, the huge fall in the number of Italy’s agribusinesses between 2003 and 2005 becomes evident.

The graphic shown on the ISTAT website stops at 2010 which is when the data sample period ends.

What does this mean for Italy? Well, it’s not good news for Italy’s export market. While demand for Italian products is healthy, with such a massive fall in the number if agribusinesses, Italy may have a problem satisfying it.

Like many other businesses in Italy, many agribusinesses are small family run units and the educational level of the agribusiness owners is generally low with 71.5 of them not having received schooling beyond middle school.

Also in common with other businesses in Italy, high tax levels and red tape won’t be helping.

While it is not mentioned in the data here, there have been items in Italy’s news in recent years which indicate some Italians are turning back to the land in search of a livelihood. Some 9,000 new agribusinesses opened in 2012.

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