Enhance the uncultivated, abandoned or inadequately used agricultural lands of six regions: Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Apulia, Sardinia and Sicily. This is the goal of the experimental call for proposals known as “Terre Colte” (Cultivated Lands) which was presented in Rome on 23 November at the headquarters of the CON IL SUD Foundation (With the South Foundation), a non-profit organisation for the development of Southern Italy which is promoting the initiative in collaboration with our Group’s non-profit organisation, Enel Cuore.
The call for proposals is directed at non-profit organisations present in the territory, who must present their proposals by 23 February 2018 through the collaboration with other non-profit organisations in addition to institutions, universities, research institutions and even for-profit companies. The goal is to revitalise agriculture in Southern Italy by introducing innovative crops and technologies without neglecting the social and labour inclusion of those in difficult conditions, as well as youth looking for new opportunities.
Before the projects’ launch, an agreement must be reached with the owners of the abandoned agricultural land to grant one or more plots for a minimum duration of 10 years, of which the first 5 will be free of charge or have a symbolic cost. Once the agreements have been reached, a partnership must be created which includes no less than three subjects including two non-profit organisations, to develop cultivation or breeding activities, or alternatively artisan, commercial, social or tourism-accommodation activities. Each proposal can benefit from maximum financing of 500 thousand euros provided from the 3 million euros made available by Enel Cuore Onlus and the Con il Sud Foundation.
“The Terre Colte call for proposals considers the great possibilities provided by Southern Italy - explains Patrizia Grieco, chairman of Enel and president of Enel Cuore - through the direct involvement of local communities, associations and youth. The participation of all the actors involved is essential for favouring the affirmation of new, more inclusive, sustainable development models. The call is an important opportunity for supporting the land’s agricultural renewal, as well as for helping youth create their own future in their own land”.
Minister of Agricultural Policies Maurizio Martina also participated in the presentation, underlining the development possibilities of an innovative and inclusive agricultural model in Southern Italy. In fact, agriculture is achieving very positive results in the area not only from an economic point of view, but also from an occupational, social and environmental point of view. In the last year, the rate of youth who have found employment in agricultural activities in the South has increased by 13%. This fact offers hope, especially considering the historical trend, which since the beginning of the twentieth century has seen a considerable reduction in the number of employees in the sector despite the fact that many of the country’s international excellences are based on its agricultural production.
The latest study by Coldiretti, the largest association representing Italian agriculture, has confirmed younger generations’ renewed interest in this sector: with 50,000 farmers under the age 35, today Italy is the leading country in Europe for the number of youth employed in agriculture.
The call for proposals also offers an effective response at a social level against any form of non-controlled land speculation or exploitation, gives value to high-quality work on products and the ability to connect to both the domestic market and abroad, developing forms of social agriculture: characteristics that have allowed Southern Italy’s agricultural sector to become attractive again in recent years.
Therefore, it is an initiative that combines social usefulness and the non-profit sector with economic and entrepreneurial development, all with an eye on sustainable development.