The production of agricultural machinery is on the increase in Italy where the value of this output reached 7.7 billion euro in 2013 to draw closer to the maximum figure of 8.2 billion achieved in 2008, ahead of the international financial and economic crisis. In percentages, the production of tractors, operational machinery and equipment, as well as components and spare parts for the sector, showed a gain of 3.3 points over 2012 whereas earthmoving machinery declined with sales of 2.4 billion for a 5.5% downturn compared to the previous year. Overall, the agricultural mechanization sector and earthmoving machinery came close 10.2 billion euro for a 1% increase over the 2012 total. According to the data reported at the assembly of FederUnacoma, the Italian Federation of Agricultural and Earthmoving Machinery Manufacturers, held in Varignana, near Bologna, the growth of sales can be attributed to the sound export trend which climbed 5.8% in value in 2013 to confirm the steady gains chalked up over the past four years which came to plus 9.4% in 2010, 12% in 2011 and 7.2% in 2012. Exports showed a further increase in value by 6.2% for tractors and 3.1% for other agricultural machinery in the first quarter of the current year.
The domestic market however remains on the downside and is still failing to show any signals of recovery. In the wake of an overall 30% plunge in tractor sales over the past six years, this category slipped by 1.7% in 2013 to sales of 19,017 tractors – to sink to a new low in the postwar history of agricultural mechanization – while transporters gave up 16.7% in sales and trailers lost 5.7%. No improvement was shown in the opening months of 2014. The data elaborated by FederUnacoma on the basis of statistics compiled by the Ministry for Transport for the January to May period disclosed a further 4.6% decline for tractors, a 41.8% dive for combine harvesters and transporters down by 4.1% whereas the category of trailers, also negative and in line with these results, rose marginally by 0.5%.
Thus the scenario is two-sided – positive for exports and negative for the domestic market – creating conditions the manufacturers attempted to analyze during their assembly with the help of Giuseppe Blasi, the head of the European and International Policy Department in the Ministry for Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policy, and Paolo De Castro, chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development in the European Parliament, in a video conference beamed from Brussels. Considerable attention was also trained on the role played by promotion events and especially on EIMA International, the great agricultural mechanization exposition going into its 41st edition next November 12 to 16 in Bologna on a record area of 150,000 m² net exhibition space for the 1,800 industries arriving, and EXPO 2015 in Milan, where FederUnacoma will set up quarters in an area dedicated to underscoring the role of agricultural mechanization in agro-industry production chains.
FederUnacoma President Massimo Goldoni comments, “Exhibition events are of great interest for analyzing because precisely in these recent years, featuring the explosion of the web, the online economy and the virtual in which there were fears of the start of a progressive decline, what has happened instead is steady growth in terms of scale and sales.” He continues, “The physical presence of the industries and direct contact with businesspeople are evidently still irreplaceable factors in marketing and for this reason trade fairs are not losing their importance, especially in Europe where there are strong manufacturing industries driven by trade fair business and where EIMA in Bologna will be confirmed as a great pole of attraction.”