Nosu biveus po lassai arrastu
"In hindsight, would you do this job again?"
All three, without hesitation, replied in the same way
"Yes, because it's a beautiful job"
The primary sector of the economy in Sardinia, in the specific farming and fishing, currently offers work to 8,7% of the employed. The main resource is sheep farming, a traditional activity from which wool, meat, milk and cheese are obtained.
Agriculture is mainly practiced in the Campidano plain (located in South-Western Sardinia) where vegetables, cereals, grapes and olive oil are grown.
Fishing, despite the Sardinian population has origins from populations of fishermen arrived to the Sardinian coast thousands of years ago, is not very widespread. It is practiced along the Western coasts, in the Gulf of Cagliari and Olbia, and in the Cabras and Santa Gilla lagoon.
Over the centuries, the prevalence of historical events, such as malaria and incursions, have favoured the abandonment of the coasts and the fertile lands of the plain which in turn caused the consistent decline in agricultural activities and the consequent and progressive withdrawal towards sheep farming.
The deep roots of sheep farming activity in the Sardinian society has ancient origins and derives not only from the succession of historical events, but also from the institutional and market conditions that have favoured its persistence and development. The strong cultural, environmental and economic value of pastoral activity has always distinguished Sardinia in the national scenario.
The primary sector, however, lives in the constant grip of its economic crisis, which worsened starting from the 60s, years in which the Parliament approved the Piano Rinascita (Renaissance Plan), with the aim of financing and facilitating the industrialization of Sardinia.
The industrialization of Sardinia, which also intended to weaken the agro-pastoral socio-economic structures that were thought to feed the phenomenon of banditry, fails, causing further social disintegration.
The advent of industrialist culture will mainly limit the agricultural transformation. Many farmers in the following years, exhausted by a perennial job insecurity also due to funding cuts, will leave the fields to work in the factories, capable of guaranteeing a secure salary.
Even the Santa Gilla lagoon, one of the most important wetlands in Europe by extension and importance of biodiversity, has undergone the overwhelming advance of the chemical industry, born right in the banks of the lagoon. The natural boundaries have been profoundly altered due to reclamation works which were followed by the birth of the Macchiareddu industrial area and the urbanization of neighbororing areas, thus reducing its original surfaces to a quarter.
The pouring of industrial and civil waste through the tributaries of the lagoon has altered the quality of the water to the detriment of the fish fauna, which has been slowly impoverished over time, causing enormous inconvenience to the fishing industry in the lagoon. In this occasion too, hundreds of fishermen left their boats to become workers of that industry that occupied the shores of the lagoon.
Only in the 90s, thanks to several environmental recovery interventions, the production activity was restored.
The continuous and exasperating crisis of the Sardinian primary sector has caused the reduction of job opportunities, with a consequent decrease in the number of employees.
In parallel, extra-family workforce has grown, bringing to light one of the biggest problems of the primary sector in Sardinia: generational turnover.
The primary sector continues to be unattractive for young people, especially if they do not come from traditionally farming families. Despite the high unemployment rate, it is difficult to find farmers or fishermen because many people are afraid of getting their hands dirty. Over time, medium-sized companies will be forced to reduce the amount of work due to this phenomenon.
In recent years, thanks to European funds for the agricultural industry, there has been a return to the land by young people.
The birth of youth entrepreneurial initiatives are slowly contributing to the Sardinian economic recovery.
The stories of Francesco, Tarcisio and Davide represent thousands of Sardinian breeders, farmers and fishermen who, despite facing difficulties, work hard every day keeping alive a sector that for centuries has been the economic engine of the island.