A crisis meeting with pig sector representatives has been called by the Italian government’s minister of agriculture after several thousand pork producers staged a demonstration outside the Stock Exchange in Milan and two national agricultural organizations issued warnings of a sector-wide collapse.

They say the livelihood of many people is at risk because the price paid to producers has failed to rise in line with production costs. By their calculation, about 120,000 people are involved in the pork chain in Italy, from production on the farm through to slaughter, processing and meat distribution. The organizations, called Confagricoltura and Coldiretti, protest that the primary producer in Italy receives less than 16% of the final retail price charged for pork while battling against at least a 17% rise in the cost of feed this year resulting from the involvement of speculators in international commodity markets.


Concerns also have been raised about the importing of pork, with one organization claiming that three out of every four hams now sold in Italy have been produced in another country. There is even a claim that many hams marketed as being of Italian origin in fact originate from imported meat.