Italy expects a 5-6% drop in “Prosciutto di Parma” ham output this year, just at a time when US, Canadian and Japanese demand is strong for exports.

The projection on declining production comes from the Italian crude ham’s consortium and is based on findings of increasing prices for raw material (up 17% in the past six months) without any significant corresponding increase in price for consumers.

The consortium reported a 3.5% slump already in the first seven months of this year compared to the similar period last year, putting projections for 2001 production at 8,561,510 pieces.

In the H1 of this year, exports to the US, Canada and Japan jumped by as much as 31%. Currently, a serious shortage for exports is not expected, but an upward price adjustment may be necessary to induce higher production.

By Hilmi Toros, correspondent