Italy's wheat and milling industry

by Arvin Donley
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The Italian milling industry is mature, made up of large industrial operations as well as smaller mills. According to the Association of Industrial Millers and Pasta Makers of Italy (ITALMOPA), there are about 700 milling companies in the country, including about 190 durum mills.

According to ITALMOPA, the turnover of the Italian milling industry in 2008 increased by 15% from 2007, production of wheat milling products decreased slightly in 2008 to 10,250,000 tonnes, down from 10,460,000 a year earlier. Within that total, there were decreases in production of flour (3,860,000 tonnes from 3,930,000) and well as meal (3,400,000 from 3,472,000).

In its annual report released in May 2009, ITALMOPA noted that in 2008 Italian mills had serious difficulties securing their regular supply of durum wheat, thus leading to an increase in imports.

Typically, Italy produces about 60% to 65% of its soft wheat and durum needs and imports the rest. Soft wheat imports have been growing because of a drop in local production.

Nearly 70% of the soft wheat is grown in northern Italy, about 25% in the central part of the nation and rest in the south. Meanwhile, the south produces about two-thirds of Italian durum, with the remaining produced in the central region and very small amounts in northern Italy. Most of Italy’s durum wheat is used in pasta production.