Agriculture in the Mezzogiorno Hills: Creeping out from Depression? - Agricultural development in the hill areas of Southern Italy has shown different trends in the last three decades. This difference in not evident if one looks only at official statistics, since they frequently are not accurate and obsolete. On the contrary, it shows up rather clearly if one looks at what is happening in the real world. Direct observation suggests that since the 90’s development has been faster, while the structure of agriculture is becoming more modern. This is taking place because, among other things, small size of farms in the South is not any more a critical attribute as it was in the past. This follows directly from the changes that are taking place in the European and Italian market for food, and in modern society. Demand is more and more oriented by quality, generic welfare issues and way of living, and less by the struggle for low prices. Quality, aesthetics, well-being, etc. are becoming more important in determining the behaviour of consumers. These changes provide new chances and opportunities to hill regions in the South, mainly where natural resources
can effectively be exploited for leisure. What could be defined as the "European model" for food and farm production opens today new possibilities to rural areas that only a few years ago looked completely out of the market. Therefore, economic perspectives for these areas economic perspectives are now much more promising than before.