A massive herd of sheep, including numerous lambs, took off from Sardinia directed to Umbria; Sardinian sheep breeders have donated almost a thousand sheep. A significant gesture that helps giving back hope to their ill-fated colleagues who lost their animals during the terrible earthquake, around seven months ago.
Sa paradura, an ancient tradition
This is a way to renew the ancient agricultural tradition of “Sa paradura”, when one or more sheep are donated to those stricken by bad luck in order to help them get back on their feet. According to the calculations from Coldiretti based on the last Istat survey, over 25 thousand agricultural companies and stables have been hit by the earthquake in 131 communes spread over Lazio, Marche, Umbria and Abruzzo, covering an astounding 292 thousand hectares of agricultural lands, mostly employed for vegetable farming and grazing, the vast majority of companies (96,5%) being family-run businesses. 40 thousand sheep generating a flourishing of satellite agricultural and industrial activities, with many cheese makers producing world-renowned high-end delicacies.
Operation maxi herd, organized by Coldiretti, involved sheep coming from all over Sardinia, from Barbagia to Gallura, from Ogliastra to Campidano, from Nurra to Sarrabus, and the gathering point was the Bonassai Agris research center, in the Sassari area where the sheep were loaded on trucks and brought to the Olbia white port, where, last March 31, they embarked a cargo ship directed to Civitavecchia and then arrived in Cascia, Umbria. They decided to assign the sheep to 40 Umbrian shepherds with a randomized procedure – called “a stumbu” – carried out by a blindfolded kid, according to the criteria of the ancient tradition. A gesture of help for the earthquake-stricken farmlands.
The hurdles of Sardinia shepherds
Sardinia, land of shepherds where 40% of Italian sheep can be found, divided in the 12 thousand breeding farms all over the island, wanted to give its contribution, although this sector is navigating through really difficult times: just consider that the daily milking of a sheep yields an average of one liter of milk a day which price on the market is almost half of what it was two years ago – just 60 cents compared to 1 euro in the second half of 2015.
We have witnessed numerous examples of solidarity during these last months, a sign that the primary Italian sector is alive and still and integral part of the country’s social fabric: from the “adopt a cow” operation, which has already found a home for at least 2000 sheep and cows that had lost theirs due to collapsed stables, to the “give a bail” project aimed to guarantee food for the livestock. Ordinary people also took part in the aids: just consider that over 50 thousand Italians tasted the “solidarity Caciotta”, a cheese made with the milk coming from the earthquake-stricken areas of Norcia, Amatrice and Leonessa, and the “friend Cacio”, made with milk from Marche farms.