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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 July 2007, 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK
Italians facing pasta price rise
By David Willey
BBC News, Rome

Wheat (file image)
Much of the wheat used to make Italian pasta is imported
Italian pasta manufacturers have warned that the price of pasta, one of Italy's staple foods, will go up by about 20% this autumn.

Global warming and the growing use of durum wheat as a bio-fuel are blamed.

Italian pasta tastes good because it is made from durum wheat, of which Italy is one of the world's main producers.

But with strong demand at home and a growing export market, Italians are increasingly forced to import high quality durum wheat from abroad.

Much comes from Canada and Syria but, according to Mario Rummo, president of the Italian pasta manufacturers association, the Canadians have said they have no more durum wheat for sale until November.

Syria, meanwhile, has just banned the export of grain.

Expertise

The result will be a price hike of 20% for spaghetti and fettuccine by the autumn for Italians who have long been accustomed to cheap pasta in their supermarkets.

Canadian production of durum wheat has soared in recent years, but it is increasingly being sold as a bio-fuel to make ethanol which is why the wholesale price is going up.

Global warming appears to be one of the main reasons for a decline in production in some traditional durum wheat-growing areas in the Mediterranean.

At present, Italy imports 40% of the durum wheat used to make pasta.

The country's expertise in the selection and blending of grains is the reason pasta manufacturers here give for the superiority of their product and their flourishing export trade.




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