(ANSA) - ROME, JULY 26 - The number of excellences in the Italian quality agri-food sector is expanding. In 2019 the number of denomination products recognized by the EU rose to 300, thanks to the introduction of the extra virgin olive oil of Puglia Igp (Protected Geographical Indication). A sector that sees the South and women increasingly engaged on the production front. This is the square that emerges from the Istat report "Dop, Igp and Stg quality agri-food products", with the ranking of the productions that have received the most awards. In first place there is the fruit, vegetables and cereals sector with 112 products of which 36 Dop and 76 IGP, followed by cheeses with 53 products (50 Dop, 2 IGP and 1 Stg) and extra virgin olive oil with 47 (42 Dop and 5 Igp).Among zootechnical products, Pecorino Romano, Pecorino Sardo and Lamb of Sardinia rank first in terms of number of farms.
On the production front, Istat reports a slight decline in operators (-1.6%) and producers (-2.1%) mostly in the Northern regions, while the race continues in the South with respectively +4, 6% and + 4.8%, also due to the effect of the entry of Puglia Oil and the increase recorded in the sector of other products of animal origin which includes Ricotta di Bufala Campana). In practice, over 41.2% of producers are located in the southern areas, where Sardinia emerges with 22.2% of the total, followed by Tuscany (14.7%) and Trentino-Alto Adige (12.8%). In the Center, the situation is essentially stationary, while transformers are still decreasing by 5.7% throughout the national territory. Finally, in 2019, after the decrease recorded in the previous year, the share of women among operators returned to rise:15.7% of quality productions are women, almost double the percentage (31%) in the extra virgin olive oil sector.