As Italians waited to hear their Government's plans for tackling the country's economic crisis -- due to be announced in Parliament on Thursday -- some fifty thousand farmers marched through Rome on Wednesday (26 June) demanding higher government investment in agriculture.
GV PAN ACROSS demonstrators walking past Colosseum
SV Marchers through streets with banners
CU Banner ZOOM OUT GV marchers
CU Cow bell ZOOM IN TO SV farmers carrying milk churn and banners.
SV Farmers on tractors(2 shots)
SV PAN demonstrators with banners and placards
GV ZOOM OUT LV march continues
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Background: As Italians waited to hear their Government's plans for tackling the country's economic crisis -- due to be announced in Parliament on Thursday -- some fifty thousand farmers marched through Rome on Wednesday (26 June) demanding higher government investment in agriculture.
The farmers, some of them driving tractors, also called for higher prices for their produce, an easing of credit restrictions and better health-insurance provisions. The Government's emergency "package" of proposals may well satisfy them on at least one point -- the easing of credit facilities.
It was the proposal by Treasury Minister Signor Emilio Colombo to tighten the credit squeeze that brought the offered resignation of Prime Minister Mariano Rumor last week. The Socialist members of the coalition Government wanted an easing of the credit restrictions and objected to Signor Colombo's plan.
However, President Giovanni Leone refused to accept Signor Rumor's resignation. So, faced with probably the worst economic and political crisis in Italy for thirty years, the Prime Minister has had to seek a way of holding the coalition together. Thursday's package will be the first test of how well he has succeeded.
Because of inflation, the farmers are facing a serious situation. Italy's imports last year increased by 44 per cent in value. But exports were up by only 19.5 per cent. Food and agricultural products accounted for two thirds of the deficit.
Meat was the main import which could be justified; but the imports of large quantities of fruits, wine and spirits, seemed impossible to justify. Italian-grown fruit is having to be regularly destroyed because of the lack of buyers.
The farmers's concern about improved health insurance provisions is echoed in many other sections of the community. The Italians pay more than almost anyone else in Europe for what is commonly agreed to be one of the worst health services in the world. A recent Italian Health Ministry report disclosed that there were more cases of typhus, diphtheria and hepatitis in Italy in 1971 than in almost all other European countries combined.