Consorzi Agrari d’Italia SpA and Bonifiche Ferraresi SpA, question to the Senate

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The dossier of poisons on Consorzi Agrari d’Italia SpA and Bonifiche Ferraresi SpA, which we reported on recently, had predictably already reached the institutions of the Italian Republic. (1) The question submitted to the government by Hon. Saverio De Bonis, secretary of the 9th Senate Committee on Agriculture, on Dec. 28, 20. (2)

Consorzi Agrari d’Italia SpA and Bonifiche Ferraresi SpA, question to the Senate

Senator Saverio De Bonis addressed a public question to Ministers Teresa Bellanova (Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies), Stefano Patuanelli (Economic Development) and Roberto Gualtieri (Economy and Finance). The interpellation, a summary of which is offered, recalls in its introduction a press article dated 12.2.20.

Frightening things happen in the undercurrents of power that politics pretends not to see. The case of Bonifiche Ferraresi is typical: a whirlwind of millions of public money, a stock that rips through the stock market like a gambling den, pension funds betting farmers’ pension money on it.

The point is crucial, of new IRIs the road to Italian hell is paved. And while the vices and virtues of state intervention are being debated, there are those who, in the name of ‘supply chains,’ settle business.’ (Giorgio Meletti, il Fatto Quotidiano, 12.2.20). (3)

Federconsorzi 2

Thirty years after the most serious financial collapse in the history of the Italian Republic, the Consorzi Agrari (of Emilia, Adriatic, Tyrrhenian and Central-Southern Italy), Bonifiche Ferraresi and the CAI Consortium Company make the new company Consorzi Agrari d’Italia SpA operational.


‘So much like Federconsorzi’
– explains Senator De Bonis – ‘without this having been deliberated by all the assemblies of the members of the various agrarian consortia.’ Which, it is always good to remember, ‘pursue by law obvious mutualistic purposes.’

Federconsortia 2, mutualism or finance?

Agricultural consortia can participate in joint-stock companies, the secretary of the Senate’s 9th Committee on Agriculture points out, only if two conditions are met:

1) Consortia must have a majority of the votes exercisable at the regular meeting,

2) the said joint-stock companies must carry out activities for the benefit of members of agricultural consortia ‘in accordance withthe mutual purposes of the consortia‘. (4)

The Tyrrhenian Agricultural Consortium-in voting against the CAI project, through its councilor Marco Neri-said that such a maneuver ‘would erase the prevailing mutualistic and mutually supportive purposes, in which the concept of helping those in need prevails, and in which the union of the small gives them the strength of the large without the nagging of achieving profit at any cost, the consortium’s guiding star.

All this would be swept away forever by a project conceived by financial and banking companies like Bonifiche Ferraresi, whose purpose is to make profits and who have very little mutualistic in their DNA.’ (5)

Farmers’ pensions

Hon. Saverio De Bonis – in a previous question to Ministers Nunzia Catalfo (Labor and Social Policies) and Teresa Bellanova (Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies), on 9.12.19, still unanswered – had highlighted how ”ENPAIA, the national welfare agency for agricultural workers and employees, would make investments worth millions to increase the capital of Bonifiche Ferraresi’. (6)

The investment by ENPAIA, led by former Coldiretti Veneto president Giorgio Piazza, would contribute to the capital increase of Bonifiche Ferraresi SpA (BF). Which ‘inturn acquired the estate controlled by Federico Vecchioni [Il Cicalino, agritourism and resort], who is also the CEO of the company [BF]‘. An acquisition for 10 million, remunerated with 2.5 percent of BF’s shares (7.8).

The dossier of poisons on Consorzi Agrari d’Italia SpA and Bonifiche Ferraresi SpA

The secretary of the Senate’s 9th Agriculture Committee also recalled the 23-page anonymous report on Consorzi Agrari d’Italia SpA and Bonifiche Ferraresi SpA, the text of which was published yesterday in GIFT(Great Italian Food Trade). (1)

‘In December 2020, information emerged about corporate operations and connections involving Coldiretti, agrarian consortia, Bonifiche ferraresi, and related companies. In particular, a number of questions are raised, to which it is hoped the ministers in charge will want to provide answers.

Federico Vecchioni’s recent statements are very disturbing. He, responding to the press report regarding an anonymous dossier, related to the agricultural world, even denounces an institutional crisis and a strong embarrassment of Italy even in international relations’ (Xavier De Bonis, parliamentary question 28.12.20). (2)

Questions to ministers Bellanova, Patuanelli and Gualtieri

Saverio De Bonis, in his conclusions, asks Ministers Teresa Bellanova, Stefano Patuanelli, and Roberto Gualtieri:

– ‘whether they are aware of the aforementioned corporate transactions and connections involving Coldiretti, agrarian consortia, Bonifiche ferraresi and related companies.’

– ‘what steps they intend to take in order to verify the truthfulness or otherwise of the allegations and the conclusions of the relevant journalistic investigation.’

– ‘whether they do not consider it appropriate and urgent to provide answers to the questions raised.’

Consorzi Agrari d’Italia SpA and mutualism

He concludes, the senator, asking ministers to shed light on Consorzi Agrari d’Italia and mutualism:

– ‘whether the mutualistic purpose entered fully into the drafting stage of the CAI Memorandum and Articles of Association, or is only relegated to the shareholders’ agreement as a contingency, whereas the law requires that the qualifying elements of the mutualistic relationship already result from the Memorandum of Association.’

– ‘whether they do not consider [i ministri] that Bonifiche Ferraresi’s power of control, resulting from the shareholders’ agreements, undermines the mutualistic aims and purposes of the agrarian consortia.’ (2)

Fiat lux!

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) Dario Dongo. Consorzi Agrari d’Italia SpA, Federconsorzi 2 ? The Poison Dossier. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 1.1.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/consorzi-agrari-ditalia-spa-federconsorzi-2-il-dossier-dei-veleni

(2) Senate of the Italian Republic. Legislature 18, Inspection Bill No. 4-04693. Published on 12/28/20, in session no. 287. http://www.senato.it/japp/bgt/showdoc/18/Sindisp/0/1187643/index.html
(3) Giorgio Meletti. Ferrara land reclamation: new Federconsorzi with Cdp money. The Daily Fact. 12.2.20, https://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/in-edicola/articoli/2020/02/12/ecco-i-nuovi-mostri-lo-stato-imprenditore-in-bonifiche-ferraresi/5703570/

(4) DL 20.6.17, no. 91, Article 2, Paragraph 3 and Paragraph 3-bis, added in Conversion Law 3.8.17 no. 123(on urgent provisions for economic growth in the Mezzogiorno)
(5) Confagricoltura Toscana. No to the merger between Bonifiche Ferraresi and Consorzio agrario del Tirreno. 5/15/20, https://toscana.confagricoltura.it/ita/notizie/news-7/confagricoltura-toscana-no-alla-fusione-tra-bonifiche-ferraresi-e-il-consorzio-agrario-del-tirreno
(6) Senate of the Italian Republic. Legislature 18, Inspector’s Act No. 4-02595. Published on 9.12.19, in session no. 171. http://www.senato.it/japp/bgt/showdoc/showText?tipodoc=Sindisp&leg=18&id=1133833

(7) Bonifiche Ferraresi acquires the ‘Il Cicalino’ estate. Il Sole 24 Ore, Tuscany. 11/14/19, https://toscana24.ilsole24ore.com/art/oggi/2019-11-14/aumenti-capitale-bonifiche-ferraresi-144944.php?uuid=AB9Ni9F

(8) ‘The purpose of the Enpaia fund is mainly to make available to the reclamation consortia the sums needed by them for the payment of severance pay, the anticipation thereof (…), the consortium pension (alternative to severance pay in the cases provided for by national collective agreements), the indemnity in lieu of notice (in case of death of the member) and the specific supplement (in case of death of the employee before the completion of the tenth year of service), and then for any investment‘.

That being said, Sen. Saverio De Bonis asked ‘To know whether the ministers in charge, in order to protect the pre-eminent social security rights of agricultural employees, do not consider it necessary to carry out checks on the investment to determine whether it is useful in guaranteeing returns to taxpayers or whether it is merely a transaction that benefits the contractor, i.e., the administrator of the “Il Cicalino” estate (see note 6)