Food and Agriculture in Sicily is one of the Region's leading economic sectors.
Alongside 'Made in Italy' and 'Italian Life Style', there is also a progressive spread of the Italian diet and eating habits throughout the world, and economic recovery for businesses in this sector. As a consequence, Sicily and the regional production in this sector are in a position of excellence.
ISTAT figures for 2005 show that production in Sicily's primary sector was valued at a little over 4 billion euros.
Overall, the primary sector encompasses 38,143 businesses engaged in manufacturing, most of which within the food and agricultural industry.
Foreign trade figures for the food industry show direct exports for 'Food, drinks and tobacco' for the first half of 2006 increased by 6.2% 1.
1. Source: Quadrante economico siciliano, Banca di Sicilia Statistics Office, for 2006
The organic agricultural sector is expanding and Sicily as a region has the largest number of organic businesses/farms at 8,450 (16.9% of the national total) with a substantial increase (up 24.6%) on figures for 20042.
Worth noting also is the presence on the market of the many 'traditional products', some of which are certified DOC, IGT, PDO and PGI, and hugely popular not just in Sicily.
An overview of the sector in figures:
Area used for agriculture (2003): 1,260,000 hectares, with an average of 3.81 hectares per farm/business.
Production units within the primary sector: 330,000 farms (15% of national total);
2. Source: Sicilian Regional Statistical Yearbook 2006
Food industry3: 11,119 businesses (29.2% of all Sicilian industries).
Citrus fruits sector: production of 19 million quintals (57% of national total), area under cultivation equal to 96,756 thousand hectares, 31,000 producers, 58 processing businesses.
Wine sector: production of 6,974,406 hectoliters4, area under cultivation is 119,000 hectares, 500 processing businesses and 50 associations.
Olive sector: production of 3.4 million quintals, area under cultivation is 162,000 hectares, 6 brands of oil with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).
3. Source: Sicilian Regional Statistical Yearbook 2006 - Industria; 'Orientarsi al marketing aiuta l'ortofrutticoltura siciliana', article from the
supplementary edition of the L'informatore Agrario, 2006
4. Istituto della Vite e del Vino, (Wine and Vine Institute), elaboration of ISTAT figures for 2006