Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has promised to promote Italian agriculture and domestically grown produce, but over 50,000 people signed a petition organised by the association of Italian farmers CIA, saying that her government has not matched words with action yet.
"It is time for Food Sovereignty to be transformed from an empty slogan to concrete policies," said Gennaro Sicolo, deputy chairman of CIA, which reached its target of 50,000 signatures on Tuesday.
Although the price of pasta kept rising for various reasons, the cost of wheat fell to €330 per tonne from around €600 euros in June 2022, according to CIA, as prices of imported wheat fell.
"With the prices paid to (wheat) producers, farms cannot cover their production costs," CIA Chairman Cristiano Fini said.
According to Italy's leading association of agricultural entrepreneurs, Coldiretti, imports of Ukrainian wheat in particular rose 318% year-on-year between January and February.
It is cheaper than Italian wheat because it has lower production costs, CIA said, noting that Ukraine does not have to comply with EU rules on pesticides as well as on food quality and safety standards.
Italy's pasta industry relies on importing some wheat because the country doesn't produce enough wheat for all its needs.
"We fear the uncontrolled increase in imports will lead to a progressive reduction of Italian wheat production, the closure of hundreds of cereal farms and the loss of thousands of jobs," said CIA's Sicolo, adding that not only the supply chain "but even our health is put at risk."