Italy leader in biodiversity with traditional products

(AGI) Milan, Sept 24 - Italy is the only country in the worldwith 4,886 regional foods produced according to traditionalmethods for at least 25 years, 272 PDO/PGI speciality productsrecognised at Community level and 415 Doc/DOCG wines, accordingto a report from agricultural association Coldiretti on "Madein Italy saved from extinction". The report was presented atthe opening of the exhibition "The ancestors of Made in Italy,the most ancient foods" at the "No. Farmers No Party"exhibition at Milan Expo. This result was possible due to thegreat variety of vegetable and animal heritage with 7,000

(AGI) Milan, Sept 24 - Italy is the only country in the worldwith 4,886 regional foods produced according to traditionalmethods for at least 25 years, 272 PDO/PGI speciality productsrecognised at Community level and 415 Doc/DOCG wines, accordingto a report from agricultural association Coldiretti on "Madein Italy saved from extinction". The report was presented atthe opening of the exhibition "The ancestors of Made in Italy,the most ancient foods" at the "No. Farmers No Party"exhibition at Milan Expo. This result was possible due to thegreat variety of vegetable and animal heritage with 7,000species of flora, 58,000 species of animals and 504 varietalsin the vine register against 278 in France, but also 533varieties of olives against 70 in Spain, due to daily work offarmers and breeders. Thanks to the extraordinarybiodiversity of Italian farms 130 breeds have been saved fromextinction, including 38 breeds of sheep, 24 of cattle, 22 ofgoats, 19 of horses, 10 of pigs, 10 of poultry and seven ofdonkeys, on the basis of the latest Rural DevelopmentProgramme. While just 579 Romagna donkeys, known for theirlively temperament, are engaged in the production of milk forpaediatric use and onotherapy, there are about 400 Girgentanagoats with the long corkscrew shaped horns for the productionof milk for "Tuma Ammucchiata" cheese (hidden cheese) maturedin cracks of the wall plaster and/or stone, which in the pastwere walled up to hide it from brigands. But there are also -Coldiretti continued - the Polverara hen, portrayed withcharacteristic tuft since 1400 in paintings and works that caneven be seen in the Vatican Museums; the Mora Romagna, acurious breed of pig with blackish coat and lighter shades onthe abdomen; the Garfagnina cattle with frosted coat and slatecoloured skin that includes a population of just 145 head; orthe Pontremolese of which there are just 46 left alive. Such amajor conservation operations have occurred in response to thenew business opportunities created by the farmers markets andthe farms of Campagna Amica active in all regions, which haveoffered economic opportunities to farmers and growers ofvarieties and breeds at risk of extinction that otherwise wouldnever have survived the rigours of modern forms ofdistribution. It is estimated that - according to Coldiretti -at least 200 minor varieties, including fruit, vegetables,legumes, wild herbs and products made from at least 100different breeds of cattle, pigs, sheep and goats raised on asmall scale are currently sold in the network of farmersmarkets run by Campagna Amica, which has about 10,000 salespoints. "This is the result of the work of generations offarmers engaged over time to defend the biodiversity of theterritory and its food traditions," said President ofColdiretti, Roberto Moncalvo, noting that "it is a common goodfor the whole community and is also a cultural heritage thatItaly can share." (AGI) .