More than 1 out of 4 packets of rice sold in Italy comes from abroad, leaving room for speculation on prices from field to table with farmers taking less than one euro per kilo while consumers pay as much as 4 euros on shelves. This is the alarm raised by Coldiretti for one of the most loved products by Italians with national varieties such as Arborio and Carnaroli, but not only, which risk being cannibalized by foreign rice as a result of imports practically doubled in 2022 (+82%) but more than tripled by Cambodia, quintupled by Vietnam and even increased by 50 times by Burma (Myanmar) where the military junta has suppressed democracy and massacred the Rohingya people. All countries where, among other things – recalls Coldiretti – tricyclazole is used in crops, a powerful pesticide banned in the European Union.
With Italians consuming an average of between 5 and 6 kilos of rice a year – explains Coldiretti – a new marketing strategy is establishing itself in retail sales, permitted by law, with packages that highlight the words “Riso for risotto” and then indicate in small print, perhaps on a hidden side of the box, type Lungo A rice, origin in Myanmar, Vietnam or Cambodia, and therefore without any link with the real Italian varieties for risotto ranging from Carnaroli to Vialone Nano, from Arborio to Rome and which make Italian rice an expression of tradition, of qualitative excellence of our Made in Italy in the world. Action is needed to block this misleading message to consumers which – underlines Coldiretti – also damages Italian rice growers: the wording “risotto rice” must only be used for true national varieties.
Due to the drought, almost 8,000 hectares less rice will be grown this year from north to south of the peninsula for a total of just 211,000 hectares, the lowest for thirty years. Meanwhile, in the face of the explosion in costs – underlines Coldiretti – the prices paid to Italian farmers have collapsed even by more than 20% in recent days despite the drop in production due to the cutting of surfaces and due to climate change, while in the silos for example, the remaining quantity of typical national risotto rice risks not covering the consumption needs of the months until the new harvest (October 2023). A real shock with over ten thousand families including employees and entrepreneurs involved in the entire supply chain, but also for the protection of the environment and biodiversity.
Italy – highlights Coldiretti – guarantees 50% of the entire EU rice production of which it is the first supplier, with a range of varieties and a level of quality unique in the world with 9 out of 10 rice fields concentrated between Lombardy , Veneto and Piedmont. In fact, Coldiretti concludes, there are 200 varieties registered in the national register, from the real Carnaroli, with a high starch content and consistency, often called the “king of rice”, to the Arborio with large and pearly grains that increase in volume during cooking. up to Vialone Nano, the first rice to be recognized in Europe as a Protected Geographical Indication, passing through Roma and Baldo which have made the history of Italian rice-growing.