A seasonal worker in the countryside of Puglia, Italy | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA
A seasonal worker in the countryside of Puglia, Italy | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA

Italian farmers' association Coldiretti warns that Italy needs at least 100,000 seasonal migrant farmworkers to guarantee the fruit and vegetable harvest during the upcoming summer season.

Farmers' association Coldiretti said in a statement that farms across Italy desperately "need the workers requested but, as of today, authorizations have not been released yet" by offices in prefectures in charge of immigration.

According to a dossier on immigration by research center IDOS drafted in cooperation with Coldiretti, the "presence of foreign workers has become a structural part of agriculture in Italy, where one agricultural product in four is harvested by foreign hands."

The statement by Coldiretti was released after Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese announced a new decree on migrant flows: "The government is working to approve the next decree on flows that will have to take into account the growing needs of several economic sectors," the minister said in an interview published by Rome daily La Repubblica on Thursday.

More helping hands needed

Coldiretti also highlighted that compared to 2021, "the quotas of non-EU workers admitted by decree in Italy was raised to 69,000 and, of these, 42,000 places were reserved to agriculture, while requests were submitted for 100,000."

Coldiretti added that "the majority are employees with short-term contracts coming from abroad, and each year they cross the border for seasonal work and then return to their country." However, the statement concluded that "it is necessary also to allow those who receive social benefits, students and pensioners who are Italian, to be able to temporarily collaborate in activities in the fields."

 

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