Information on the mechanization of agriculture, gardening, components and multifunctionality.

Forlì-Cesena, a district in evolution

Despite the economic crisis, wellness, Ict, tourism and culture are the new successful sectors in the district's productive fabric. Among the manufacturing businesses the focus is on mechanics, footwear and food sectors, strongly linked to the excellence of agricultural production

by Giovanni M. Losavio
december 2013 | Back

The district of Forlì-Cesena is still caught in the grip of the crisis. In the second quarter of 2013, according to the local Chamber of Commerce, the main economic markers were negative. The industrial production decreased by 4.1% compared with the same period last year. But above all, the construction industry decreased by 6% compared with the second quarter of 2012. The situation was similar for other sectors of excellence of the local production system such as tourism, that had a decrease of visitors slightly under 4%, with a negative impact on the turnover of accomodation facilities. In decrease are also the added value and the number of businesses – which are slightly over 39,000 – with a decrease of 600 businesses compared with the first six months last year. With the only exception of the moderate export growth and the footwear sector's good performance, the flagship of the province with its diamond point in the “luxury complex” of San Mauro Pascoli, the economy of Forlì and Cesena is not yet out of the recession. Despite the negative economic trends, the manufacturing district of Forlì-Cesena has great potential due to new companies on the rise and the development of traditional agro-mechanical production chains.

Wellness, Ict and Tourism are the emerging sectors for economy and employment. The Annual Report on the province economy published on 14 June by the Chamber of Commerce of Forlì-Cesena, showed an evolution of the district's business activity. In order to fully understand these emerging trends – said the chamber – it is necessary to shift the focus from the products to the production process involving a variety of specialised economic operators. In other words, the perspective has to be moved from products to production chains. According to this perspective, in the economic system of Forlì and Cesena, the traditional production chains (such as the agro-food sector, mechanics, fashion and the construction industry), are being joined by new ones, such as “wellness”, cultural tourism and information communication technology. “The level of employment in old production chains – according to the 2012 report from the Chamber of Commerce – has dropped. This is also true for the amount of businesses while the new chains are developing and offer new jobs (wellness and tourism alone had last year about 10,000 workers, Ed.). Last year, under a driving force, the manufacturing businesses of the wellness sector increased by one-third the number of workers, despite the sector's difficulties in the whole province. The new production activities of Forlì and Cesena can boast excellence in the Technogym wellness campus near Cesena – a 150,000 square meters area of assembly lines, laboratories, offices, conference rooms, gyms, inaugurated in September 2012 in the presence of the President of Italy Giorgio Napolitano and the ex US President Bill Clinton – and in the Forlì-Cesena technopole, hosted on a surface of more than 10,000 square meters with laboratories devoted to avionics, Ict and agri-food sector.

The specialties of the provincial manufacture. The situation of the manufacturing industry on the whole is more complex, with a decrease in business volume (-3.3%) and sales volume (-1.5%), due to the drop in domestic demand, not balanced by the increase of external demand. These difficulties “infected” the specialised manufactures of Forlì and Cesena. From the structural perspective, metal manufacturing businesses held the leadership (20.2%), followed by mechanical businesses at 14.4% (with agricultural machinery, heavy equipment, food processing machinery and bodyworks of motor vehicles) and food industry (9.8%). The focus was on the footwear sector – with more than 250 companies in the area of San Mauro Pascoli, Savignano sul Rubicone and Gatteo with almost 4,000 workers and the furniture industry (346 companies and 3,000 workers), with the upholstered furniture sector. With the only exception of the dynamic luxury footwear sector in 2012, the other sectors had problematic trends. Almost all the metal and furniture manufacturing businesses registered negative trends. Mechanics, on the other hand, showed a good resilience even in a difficult context. Despite the decrease in orders and aggregate demand, the production volume (+0.5%) and sales volume (-0.6%) maintained the same levels as of last year. In this sector agricultural mechanics had an essential role, both for quantity – with 70 businesses corresponding to 12.5% of the mechanic sector – and quality. The only data against this trend, despite the Italian market crisis with a further decrease (-5.6%) between 2012 and 2013 were tractor registrations, increased by more than 10%. A slightly lower data compared to the performance of Emilia Romagna, that between 2012 and 2013 had an increase by 11.4% in registrations. It is worth to mention that in 2012 the agricultural machinery manufacturers of the district – as published by the Chamber of Commerce – gained market shares abroad, not only in Europe (Great Britain and Cyprus) and in the Near East (Turkey), but also in far away countries, such as the Philippines, Malaysia, South Korea and South Africa, not to mention Hong Kong and Bahrein.

Food and agriculture: a winning pair. Special reference also needs to be made to the food industry (380 businesses corresponding to 10% of the whole manufacturing sector), tightly connected to the pecularity of the provincial agricultural sector, which is poultry farming. That is no accident that Amadori – 7,000 workers with a sales volume of 1,2 billion EUR in 2011 (according to manufacturer's data) – started in the area of Cesena. In this field the district had record numbers. According to the report by the Chamber of Commerce, in 2012 the local poultry Gross Saleable Product (GSP) (+11% compared to 2011) corresponded to 40% of agricultural GSP of Forlì and Cesena with around one billion eggs, 66 million chickens and more than 2 million turkeys. In the area of Forlì and Cesena, that boasts a long tradition in the fruit and vegetable sector, has its seat the Orogel Group, specialised in processing of both fresh and frozen vegetables. This is one of the reference point for the Italian agri-food industry. The district's primary sector can boast a position of excellence also in the wine market, with well-known wines such as the Sangiovese and Trebbiano alongside other Doc (Controlled Designation of Origin) and Docg (Controlled Designation of Origin Guaranteed) wines. In conclusion, the agricultural sector, that in 2012 had a slight export increase corresponding to 9% of the whole export, had a knock-on effect on the local economic development.


THE MOST READ of the latest edition