Italian farmers have warned of severe long-term damage to agriculture in the region of Emilia-Romagna after recent storms and widespread flooding.
The fruit harvest in the Adriatic region could be severely affected for the next four to five years, the Coldiretti agricultural association said.
It said that the water left in the orchards was “suffocating” the roots of the plants, causing them to rot.
It added that the entire plantations would have to be uprooted and then replanted.
According to Coldiretti, this will have a massive impact on fruit prices.
Emilia-Romagna is considered Italy’s premier fruit region: apricots, nectarines, plums, apples, pears, kiwis and strawberries are all grown there.
The production of at least 400 million kilograms of wheat is now also at risk.
“Whole fields of maize, sunflowers and soybeans are covered by a thick layer of mud.
“Livestock farming in the region has also been severely affected.”
According to Coldiretti, about 250,000 cattle, pigs and sheep still need to be rescued.
In addition to the floods themselves, which had already led to the death of thousands of animals, landslides are complicating the situation, with many remote farms now inaccessible.
The animals there are in need of food as well as water.
The regional government estimates the damage to be in the billion euros.
At least 14 people died and thousands of people had to be evacuated from their homes. (dpa/NAN)