Two farm laborers at work in Calabria | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/Quotidiano del Sud
Two farm laborers at work in Calabria | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/Quotidiano del Sud

Italian agricultural organization Coldiretti said the region of Apulia, in southern Italy, has been assigned 320 additional non-EU laborers for farm work in the region, which is in serious difficulty due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Apulia regional branch of Italian agricultural organization Coldiretti said the region has been assigned an additional 320 non-EU workers for farm labor.

The number was increased in 2021 after a residual number of unassigned contracts were left over from the 2020 quota. Whilst the government's new decree on migrant flows for 2021 is still pending, the announcement is expected to bring another 5,000 workers to farms in Apulia (Puglia) in Italy's south.

The announcement of the 320 workers came after the Italian labor ministry issued new quotas related to 2020 to the territorial inspectorates.

Welcome move

Savino Muraglia, president of Coldiretti Puglia, welcomed the move which followed the announcement of a stay permit extension until 31July 2021.

He said the new quota came "thanks to pressure by Coldiretti," after border crossing limits placed by many countries to control COVID infections had made it difficult for farms to find enough labor.

Coldiretti said the COVID emergency caused farms serious difficulties in finding manual labor, due to delays in the procedures of legalization and issuing seasonal permits as well as the delay in the release of the 2021 quotas.

More workers needed

This is a significant problem in a situation in which, on a regional level, over one-fourth of Italian food products are obtained through foreign labor.

More than 38,000 foreign workers provide 22.4% of the total work days needed in the farm sector in Apulia. The region, like much of southern Italy is particularly famous for its olive oil production, grapes for wine and tomatoes.

The rich soil provides fertile land for many other fruits and vegetables as well as raising animals for milk and meat like cattle and sheep.

Over 973,000 work days are provided by foreign seasonal workers in the province of Foggia alone, 27.61% of the total number of work days needed in the sector.


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