Last week’s terrible flooding has apparently choked the roots of fruit trees across Emilia Romagna, precipitating a major disaster for the region’s fresh produce busines

La Stampa 22 May 2023

A feature story in La Stampa on 22 May 2023 outlines the scale of the disaster

At least 15m and as many as 40m fruit trees across Emilia Romagna will need to be pulled up and replanted, after thousands of the region’s orchards were inundated by the worst flooding to hit Italy in more than a century.

That’s according to farmers’ union Coldiretti, which has today underlined the scale of the challenge faced by fruit and vegetable producers in the affected areas around Bologna, Ravenna, Rimini and Forli Cesena.

A government support package worth more than €2bn has already been earmarked for those affected, and some of this will be used to help growers repair their farms.

“Now the new enemy is time, and with these resources it is necessary to cut bureaucracy to get aid to families and businesses as quickly as possible,” said Coldiretti president Ettore Prandini.

Several thousand hectares of fruit and vegetable production are estimated to be directly affected by the floods, which are understood to have submerged orchards and choked tree roots after six months’ rain fell on the region in just 36 hours.

Around 25,000ha are covered by orchards, planted with fruit trees that include peaches, nectarines, kiwifruit, pears, plums, apples, persimmons and cherries.

Thousands of hectares more are planted with vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, asparagus, courgettes and onions.

Main photo: CSO