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Coldiretti's alarm: the rain has halved, it's an emergency for sowing in Northern Italy

There are around 300 agricultural enterprises located in the areas most affected by the drought emergency in the Center and North, with the most dramatic situation recorded in the Po Valley basin

© Agenzia Nova - Reproduction reserved

È seeding emergency spring of maize, soy, sunflower, rice and tomato transplants in arid soils due to the lack of water necessary for crops to grow, especially in the north where rainfall has practically halved (-45 percent). It is the alarm raised by Coldiretti on the basis of Isac Cnr data relating to the first quarter of 2023 which show that the entire peninsula is actually in difficulty, where on average 15 percent less water has fallen. A dramatic situation which - underlines Coldiretti - causes uncertainty in the countryside with forecasts of a cut of almost 7500 hectares of land cultivated with rice, while as regards maize, the first estimates indicate a reduction in the hectares sown which in Northern Italy would be about 6 per cent, while in the Center it would reach 10 per cent. There are about 300 farms – continues Coldiretti – located in the areas most affected by the drought emergency in the Center and North, with the most dramatic situation recorded in the Po Valley basin where almost a third of the made in Italy agri-food sector is born. and half of the breeding. The production of the basic foods of the Mediterranean diet depends on the availability of water, from durum wheat for pasta to tomato sauce, from fruit to vegetables up to maize to feed animals for the production of great cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano and more prestigious cured meats such as Parma ham or Culatello di Zibello.

The country's water deficit is dramatic after a 2022 that was among the driest in recent history with the effects that are evident in the large lakes where - continues Coldiretti - the filling percentages range from 41 per cent of Lake Como to 42 per cent. percent of Lake Garda, whose height is at an all-time low for the period, while the hydrometric level of the Po river at the Ponte della Becca has dropped to -3,6 metres, as in the height of summer, and there is also the scarce water potential stored under form of snow in the Alps and the Apennines. Faced with the tropicalisation of the climate, it is necessary to organize ourselves to collect water in the rainy periods to make it available in times of difficulty” said the president of Coldiretti, Ettore Prandini, underlining that “this is why we have developed the pond project with Anbi to create a network of small reservoirs spread throughout the territory, without the use of cement and in equilibrium with the territories, to conserve water and distribute it when necessary to citizens, industry and agriculture”. Farmers – concludes Prandini – are already committed to doing their part to promote the rational use of water, the development of low-impact irrigation systems and innovation with less water-demanding crops, but it must not be forgotten that water is essential to keep agricultural systems alive without which the survival of the territory and the competitiveness of the entire food sector are at risk.

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