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Italian horticulture on show at Myplant & Garden

Myplant&Garden is the most important professional trade fair for horticulture, garden, and landscape in Italy. It is the main reference for the Italian industry and a top-level actor in international markets. The trade fair promotes green culture, circular economy, environmental protection and green design.

AIPH approved the application for a D Category International Horticultural Trade Exhibition from the Myplant&Garden organisers at the AIPH 74th Annual Congress held in Almere, Netherlands, in accordance with the AIPH Regulations for International Horticultural Exhibitions.

In promoting MyPlant&Garden show taking place at Fiera Milano Rho in Milan between 22-24 February 2023, the organisers share and comment on the latest official data available on horticulture in Italy in 2021.

The statistics

Tuscany, Liguria, Sicily, Lombardy, Lazio, Puglia, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto and Piedmont lead the rankings of Italian regions with the highest production value in national horticulture, which in 2021 has grown by 5% from the previous year.

The value, which corresponds to 2.8 billion euros (4.6 per cent of base price production in Italian agriculture), is the highest one recorded in recent years.

Production of flowers and potted plants in 2021 has reached almost 1.3 billion euros (+5.1 per cent from 2020), stemming in part (39 per cent) from the regions in the North-West of Italy and part (35 per cent) from the South and islands.

The production of nurseries, instead, which reached 1.5 billion euros (+4.9 per cent), came mainly from central Italy.

Horticulture production at base prices in Italy – 2021

Euro (million) 2021Euro (million) 2020Euro (million) 2019Euro (million) 2018Euro (million) 2017var. % 2021/20
Flowers and ornamental plants1,294.821,230.711,269.3961,165.6291,162.555+5.2
*2,823 according to Eurostat Data source: CREA and ISTAT

Italian production takes place mainly in four regions: Liguria, which is the leader in outdoor flower production; Tuscany and Lombardy, where the main activities for nurseries that produce ornamental plants take place; Campania, where companies are specialised mainly in the protected cultivation of flowers.

Tuscany leads nursery production on a national level, with a turnover of 816 million euros (+4 per cent average between 2019 and 2020).

Flower production, instead, is led by Liguria with 386 million euros (+4.6 per cent over the previous two years).

Regional data on Italian horticulture: the value of NURSERY production

Region(000 €) 2021(000 €) 2020% of national productionNational ranking
TUSCANY815,787777,251approx. 55%1st
LOMBARDY148,375141,366approx 10%2nd
SICILY83,28079,968approx 5.5%3rd

Production of flowers and potted plants did not register any substantial change.

Regional data on Italian horticulture: the value of POTTED PLANTS AND FLOWERS production

Region(000 €) 2021(000 €) 2020% of national productionNational ranking
LIGURIA385,887364,963approx 30%1st
SICILY183,083173,000approx 14%2nd
CAMPANIA149,869145,534approx 11.5%3rd
Data source: CREA and ISTAT

As previously remarked, Tuscany and Liguria lead the overall ranking of Italian flower and nursery production:
Tuscany (30%)
Liguria (14%)
Sicily (9.6%)
Lombardy (8.9%)
Lazio (6%)
Puglia (5.7%)
Emilia-Romagna (4.8%)
Veneto (4%)
Piedmont (2.75%).

Export grows, and the trade balance is doing well

Italian horticulture is considered excellent on an international level. The export of Italian horticulture products keeps growing.

“From our position as leading international business arena for horticulture – comments the leadership at Myplant – we are happy to witness that export, which is pivotal for the development of the industry, has hit a new milestone surpassing one billion euro”.

Italy confirms its role as net export of horticulture products: the export production value in 2021 has reached 1,143 million euros (903 in 2020). The trade balance stands at 550 million euros (423 in 2020).

The European Union is the main export destination for Italian products (about 80 per cent of all exports).

According to Eurostat, the total value of European production in 2021, including flower bulbs and nursery plants, has been 20 billion euros, of which almost seven billion came from The Netherlands.

Seventy per cent of Italian export goes to France, The Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

The Netherlands (75 per cent), Germany, Spain and Belgium, instead, are the main import countries for Italy.

This is a fact that we had advanced in January last year when we noticed that Italian exports of horticulture products had been growing since the first trimester. Moreover, many companies in the industry had positive feelings about a restart. However, we also remarked how the increase in production costs somehow impeded the regrowth because of the surge in energy costs and raw materials for shipping, transport, and fertilisers.

Troubles and opportunities for forty-thousand hectares of excellence

From the beginning of 2022, Italian production has been subjected to pressure again after overcoming the hard crisis caused by the pandemic. As already remarked by Myplant, inflation, the price of energy and political uncertainty on an international level are hitting companies hard, obstructing production, causing prices to increase, impeding the programming of production and halting international exchanges.
According to Coldiretti, the first semester in 2022 export has registered an increase of 9% from the first semester in 2021. Still, import has grown to 60%, potentially compromising the trade balance for the end of the year.

Moreover, according to Assofloro, the surge in energy costs is unprecedented: almost +100% Summer 2022/Summer 2021 for electricity; +80% Spring 2022 over Spring 2021 for fuel; +1,200% July 2022 over 2021 for methane.

All things considered, the exhibiting halls will be packed thanks to the trust and effort of companies that believe in our trade fair as the place to meet, have new business opportunities, and think about the future. We want to think about the future together. Horticulture is an industry that contributes to tackling climate and environmental issues by benefiting the economy and people’s health and improving the places we inhabit.

We keep witnessing growing interest and sensibility towards nature: from politics to architecture, from the valorisation of outdoor areas to urban regeneration, with climate change as a red thread. We shouldn’t forget the boom of green living in the domestic sphere, micro-cultivations, and people’s awareness of plants’ connection with our well-being. These are all aspects to which the horticulture industry contributes.

Rachel Wakefield

Communications Executive and Associate Editor
United Kingdom