Though Italy is primarily known for its production of grapes to produce their large demand for wine products; they are also known for growing large amounts of traditional crops and grains such as corn, soybeans and wheat. Over the past decade the agriculture has begun to slow down despite government efforts to prevent the decrease in agricultural activity. The imports of Italy have increased by $19.6 billion in 1987 to $20.9 billion in 2001. Almost half of the meat is imported into Italy even though the country has great land for pasture to grow livestock. The land and climate makes for great growing conditions for farming early and late crops due to the amount of export that is demanded. Italy produces large amounts of cereal but with the decline in wheat yields between 1974 and 1981, this has caused an increase in the import of wheat. The Italian government has control over the domestic wheat and the amount of wheat that is imported. Sugar beets is one of Italy’s largest crop that has consecutively been grown with around 14,000 tons produced since 1999.
Compared to the United States, examining agriculture in Italy is quite difficult due to effects of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP). This policy is the agricultural basis for Western European countries such as Italy. This organization offers incentives with essentially help to enlarge small privately owned farms throughout Western Europe. Productivity in Italy is relatively high compared to the amount of land that is being farmed. Only about 5% of the ground in Italy is under cultivation for farm use.
Each year the amount of organic farming in Italy has increased and so has the rapid growth in domestic farming. Since 1998, Italy has been considered the highest grower in organic fruits and vegetables. The number of organic farms in this region has grown rapidly each year which is caused by the increased demand from other countries for the organically grown produce. When organic farming became popular, the first few years were comparatively slow but eventually increased but as of the past two years production has once again start to slow down.