Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Al Bano: “I am also a farmer and I will protest with the tractor. Without music, I would have already failed” –

Al Bano, good evening. It’s 7 pm, where are you right now? “I’m in Paris. In a room at the Bristol hotel, getting ready for a private concert.”

Without music, I would have already failed. The singer and the protests of the tractors: “Sacred demonstrations, but they must not degenerate.” More controls are needed in the supply chain. “Who decides in the EU?

I would call them to come to work with me for a couple of months…”

Al Bano: “I am also a farmer and I will protest with the tractor. It’s 7 pm, where are you right now? For whom will you perform?” “I’m not sure.

European politicians, ministers.” Maybe then I will tell them what I think about the increasingly widespread farmers’ protest, in Belgium, France, Italy… “If I have the chance, without a doubt. I am a farmer at heart. I hope that this anger does not escalate to the extent it did in France with the ‘yellow vests’, and I hope that the EU and Italy open their eyes to a dramatic reality.”

Why? “If I were not a singer, if I did not carry on my activity with concerts, I wouldn’t fit in, I would be a farmer reduced to hunger. But it’s a war bulletin, many companies are closing in my Puglia and in the rest of Italy: high costs, meager earnings…” Give me some figures. “Controls are needed on price chains.

For a kilo of chicory, the producer gets a pittance, maybe 50 cents at best, but at retail it goes up to three euros. Huge disparities that apply to any other vegetable, for milk. In contrast, there is a workforce that is difficult to find and, I insist rightly, must be well remunerated. The conclusion is simple: it’s unsustainable.”

What would you ask of the EU? “Me? Nothing. But I would like those who legislate without knowing anything about agriculture, who make decisions from the comfort of their offices, to come and work with me for some time, not a year, just a couple of months.”

What would be the outcome they could draw from the “internship” at the Carrisi company? “They would understand that the farmer’s job is extremely hard; you wake up at four in the morning and go to the fields in any weather conditions: cold, African heat, rain. No fixed working hours, you finish when you have to finish and then maybe a hailstorm comes and ruins the harvest…” You have been in the countryside forever… “Since I was a child. The first money I earned as a singer, I gave it to my father and he bought a tractor.”

But at some point you left the fields… “I accidentally overheard some figures during a family meeting. At the end of the year, they had earned 800,000 lira gross, nothing. There were four of us, plus the mule. Sulfur, fertilizer were needed…I realized I had to run away.”

How much time do you dedicate to agriculture? “280 days a year are for concerts. The rest is in the fields. But the thought for the harvest is constant.”

Will you participate in the upcoming protests? “If I am free, maybe I will be in Rome next week. With the tractor.” February 3, 2024 (modified on February 3, 2024 | 07:33)

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