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Monday, 8 July, 2002, 17:50 GMT 18:50 UK
Sicilians dish up anti-Mafia pasta
Pasta
The farmers hope to sell their pasta abroad
A group of Sicilian farmers dedicated to battling Italy's Mafia is about to produce its first "anti-Mafia pasta" made from wheat grown on land confiscated from the mob.

Italy adopted laws allowing authorities to seize property and assets from the Mafia in 1982.


More than outright threats from the Mafia we had to overcome people's reluctance to have anything to do with land that was seized from Riina

Gianluca Faraone, president of the Libera Terra farmers
Libera - a group of anti-Mafia organisations and school - then pressured the government into allowing seized land to be put to use.

In 1995 they got their wish and now the farmers, calling themselves Libera Terra - or Free Land - have been growing wheat on land taken from former Mafia "boss of bosses", Toto Riina.

Libera Terra are hoping to sell their anti-Mafia pasta both at home and abroad under the brand name Libera.

"We have finally overcome all of the problems, we have won the support of neighbours, and we hope to have our anti-Mafia pasta on the shelves in August," Gianluca Faraone, president of the Libera Terra farmers, told Reuters news agency on Monday.

Salvatore Riina
Riina is now in jail

Until his arrest in 1993 Salvatore "Toto" Riina was a leading Mafia don.

He is now serving multiple life sentences for a number of crimes, including ordering the car-bombings that killed anti-Mob magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.

Riina's assets, including a country villa and estate were eventually seized.

The villa has been turned into a country hotel and the estate into the farming co-operative.

And Terra Libera's work does not stop there - they also produce olive oil on an estate which belonged to Bernardo Provenzano, a leading Mafia boss who has been on the run for almost 40 years.

But the change of ownership has not been without problems as locals, fearful of Mafia retribution, were unwilling to have anything to do with the group or the seized land.

"More than outright threats from the Mafia we had to overcome people's reluctance to have anything to do with land that was seized from Riina," Mr Faraone explained.

"But we've finally won their confidence and we're producing," he added.

See also:

16 Jun 02 | Americas
06 Jan 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
04 Apr 00 | Europe
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