mercredi 28 mars 2012

Agriculture - Fascism

At the advent of the Fascist period, wide areas of the Italian peninsula were drowned into insalubrious marshes; those people who were forced to live there rarely were able to exceed 40 years life expectations. These unhealthy areas extended from Veneto to Emilia Romagna, from the Maremma to the Pontine Marshes, from the Garigliano’s, the Volturno’s and the Sele’s plains to the Apulia’s Tableland and to Basilicata, from Sibari’s plain to Sila’s and Neto’s lands. The same thing occurred at Catania’s plain and at Campidano, a little village in Sardinia. So, during the ‘30s, while the entire world was subdued by a deep economic depression, in Italy a giant land transformation and territorial renewal work just began. Most part of the credit goes to the wise agricultural policy prompted and steered by Arrigo Serpieri, who initiated several fundamental reforms, among which the decree no. 3256/1923, about the land defence and drainage and the law no. 753/1924 about public interest agriculture transformations; he organized and directed the first enforcement of the “General Drainage” (Mussolini’s law). He was removed from office during the post-war period by Bonomi’s democratic government because he was fascist. 1925: the “Battle of Corn” begins. In 1925 the importation of corn amounted to 25 millions hundred kilograms and accounted for 4 billions lire, about half of the Italian balance trade gap. In 1931, Italy managed to meet almost its whole cereal needs for the first time, thanks to an 81 millions hundred kilograms production. 1926: Sicilian large estate attack began. The land owners number increased from 54.760 in 1911 to the 222.612 in 1926. Gran Paradiso, Stelvio, Abruzzo and Circeo’s national parks were founded during that same year. 1929: beginning of the drainage works. Wide areas of the Italian Peninsula were drowning into insalubrious marshes; those people who were forced to live there rarely were able to exceed 40 years life expectations. These areas extended from north to south throughout Italy. The drainage work started with The Pontine Marshes, entrusted to O.N.C. corporation. In the Pontine Marshes were built 3.040 farmhouses, 499 km roads, 205 km channels, 15.000 km sluices and 41.600 land hectares were broken up. Besides, 14 new towns were founded. 1939: in the Oristan province were found a town named “Mussolina di Sardegna” (today’s name is Arborea) 1932: Pontine Marshes; was unveiled the town of Littoria, today named Latina 1934: Pontine Marshes; was unveiled the town of Sabaudia (considered one the finest examples of the European town planning) 1935: Pontine Marshes; it was unveiled the town of Pontinia 1936: Valle d’Aosta; it was unveiled the town of Cervinia 1936: it was unveiled the town of Felicia, today the Slovenian town Cvic 1936: it was unveiled the Istrian town of Arsia (today’s name Resa) 1937: Pontine Marshes; it was unveiled the town of Guidonia, founded later in 1955 1937: Pontine Marshes; it was unveiled the town of Aprilia 1937: through the Sulcis plain draining works, it was unveiled the town of Carbonia (Sardinia) 1937: it was unveiled the town of Metaurilia, near Fano 1939: Pontine Marshes; it was unveiled the town of Pomezia, built the previous year. 1939: it was unveiled the town of Mussolinia di Sicilia 1939: it was founded the town of Acilia, near Rome 1939: drainage works of insalubrious areas near the river Volturno (Molise) It was unveiled the town of Volania, near Ferrara It was unveiled the town of Tirrenia, near Livorno It was unveiled the town of Segezia (Lucania) It was unveiled the town of Marconia (Lucania) The drainage works of the insalubrious areas of Veneto, the Po Valley Lowlands, of Emilia-Romagna, of the Maremma, of the Garigliano’s river Valley (Abruzzo) were made. Drainage work of Maccarese, in the Roman Marshes, was made: a rural-zootechnical-nursery model farm was built on 5.000 drained lands hectares, with hundreds of houses, experimental fields, wine growers’ cooperatives managed by more than 1.500 workers. Drainage work of the Sacred Island in Rome, with the foundation of Acilia and Ardea Drainage work of the insalubrious Sele’s surroundings areas Drainage work of the insalubrious Apulia’s Tableland areas Drainage work of the insalubrious Lucania’s areas Drainage work of the insalubrious Sibari plain’s areas Drainage work of the insalubrious Sila’s areas (Calabria) Drainage work of the insalubrious Neto’s areas (Calabria) Drainage work of the insalubrious Catania’s plain areas Drainage work of the insalubrious Campidano’s areas (Sardinia) It was founded the town of Fertilia, near Alghero The drainage works and the agriculture laws results are as it follows: 5.886.796 drained land hectares between 1923 and 1938. Here it is necessary to make a comparison with the pre-fascist age, when within 52 years all over the entire country only 1.390.361 land hectares were drained. Besides, 32.400 kilometres of roads, 5.400 aqueducts, 15 new towns (besides the ones cited above there are Fertilia, Segezia, Alberese, Mussolinia, today Alborea, Tirrenia, Tor Viscosa, Arsia and Pozzo Littorio) and hundreds of small villages are to be added; more than one million land hectares were reforested, over a million rural dwellings were built; the growth in productivity rose from 100 up to 2.438; rural work per hectare increased from 100 up to 3.618; the number of labourers engaged in the drainage works and in the new farms was over five hundred thousands. Last but not least, it was defeated the malaria, which caused hundreds of deaths every year. Another relevant date about the technical quality our country primary sector managed to reach was the comparison between the 16.1 quintals wheat production per hectare reached through the drained lands against the American one, considered the best one ever, still at 8,9 quintals per hectare. The awarding of the farms in the drained areas to the labourers was the pride of the fascist agricultural policy. As we can see, those were the goals which changed Italy’s face. In 1922 the labourers were more than 2 millions: in the early 1940s their numbers reduced to only 700 hundreds, because the other became owners, sharecroppers or sharing in small or big enterprises.

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