The Italian research center CREA said that about 5 million foreigners now live in Italy, with 60% (3.1 million) calling rural parts of the country home. This marks an increase in rural foreign population of over 70% in the past decade.
A study by the Italian research center "CREA - Politics and Bioeconomy" revealed that of the approximately five million foreigners living in Italy, 3.1 million now live in rural areas, marking an increase of around 73% in the past decade.
The development is seen as a positive contribution that helps repopulate the areas with younger people, while ensuring economic, social, and environmental vitality through employment in agriculture, forest management, elderly care, and new services.
The study is based on the most recent data available examining rural migration, and was carried out as part of the National Rural Network. The overall goal of the study was to examine labor as a pathway of social integration and to thus reassess social campaigns with the highest success rates.
Illegal practices remain
CREA said there have been numerous positive experiences of inclusion, wich were promoted by regional development policies as well as national policies. However, according to the document, shadow areas of irregular labor practices and illegal gang activities remain despite growing efforts against such practices carried out by both government institutions as well as the agricultural sector.
CREA researcher Catia Zumpano said the study showed that there was a "need to establish the right balance between interventions aimed at governing migratory pressure and those aimed at seizing the opportunities inherent in accommodating the new residents".
"In this framework, solutions must be adopted that facilitate integration and recognize equal treatment with Italians, in terms of economics and rights," she aded.
"The cultural recovery of the dignity of agricultural work, above all of the temporary kind, remains essential, whether Italian or foreign. This is the only way it will finally have adequate social recognition, making the public see it as an activity that needs to be protected and promoted."