The business of Mafia in the agri-food sector, called “Agromafia”, is worryingly growing. This is what emerges from the “6th Agromafie Report 2018” presented on February 14 by Coldiretti, Eurispes and Observatory of Crime in Agriculture and the Food Chain. During the meeting, the main initiatives, to protect Made in Italy and consumer health, were proposed to counter fraud and counterfeiting.

Transparency and Common Criteria in the EU Market

In just one year, with a jump of 12.4%, the business volume of the so-called “Agromafia” reached 24.5 billion euros. “Agromafia” is a neologism that identifies national and international criminal organizations, coalesced among themselves, infiltrated along the journey of food from farm to table, from production to transportation, from distribution to sale. The “6th Agromafie Report 2018”, elaborated by Coldiretti, Eurispes and Observatory of Crime in Agriculture and the Food Chain and presented last February 14 at Coldiretti’s Rome headquarters, talks about Mafia 3.0 expressing a “multilevel governance“. It’s clear the reference to the new face of increasingly complex and refined organizations, which know how to manipulate technology, economics and finance to do business and seriously damage the free legal market. It’s necessary that all products entering national and European borders respect the same criteria, ensuring that behind the food, both Italian and foreign, on sale on the shelves there is a similar quality path that concerns the environment, work and health. The secret of trade flows must be removed in Italy with the indication of companies that import raw materials from abroad to allow targeted interventions in health emergency situations that are repeated more and more frequently”, stated Mr. Ettore Prandini, the Coldiretti’s President, during the meeting.

How To Contrast “Agromafia”

Among the many initiatives to be put in place, as effective deterrents against the criminal activities of the “Agromafia” organizations, there is the proposal to apply the “blockchain technology”, a new revolution that is spreading in the global food industry and that could radically transform it. Blockchain is a Distributed Ledger able to document the commercial relationships throughout the entire supply and production chain; it allows to monitor in real time the path of each product (equipped with smart label QR barcode), under the banner of maximum transparency and traceability. The advantages for both consumers and for the players in the supply chain are unquestionable. Thanks to the QR code and the use of the smartphone, consumers will have access to all the information about the manufacturer, the details of the product processing, its expiry date, shipping data, etc. Economic advantages for the players in the supply chain, as the blockchain allows the creation and management of a large shared, decentralized digital database, structured in blocks and encrypted, which can only be changed with the consent of all participants. In this way the immutability and incorruptibility of the information are assured. A solution that can also fight counterfeiting, if you think that more than 2 out of 3 Made in Italy products on the world market, actually are not Italian. This phenomenon is also clearly expanding for the development of the online market where, every year, online falsification of goods grows at a rate of around 16% worldwide. In this regard, precisely to protect the PDO and IGP food products, the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies has achieved significant results thanks to agreements signed with the world’s largest e-commerce players such as eBay and Alibaba. A further contribution to the activity of fighting fraud in the agri-food sector has been the one developed by Parliament which, substantially, has modified the system of measures to prevent the new Anti-Mafia Code, including all the illicit agricultural crimes.