With a third of agricultural production in Italy reportedly under threat, the UK could see produce shortages and further price rises

The current drought in Italy is threatening supplies of fruit and vegetables including apricots, peaches, pears and vegetables to markets like the UK, the Independent has reported.

In the UK, food prices are already skyrocketing as a result of soaring inflation, Brexit and the cost of living crisis.

Italy has declared a state of emergency in five northern regions, with more than 30 per cent of agricultural production under threat, according to the country’s biggest agricultural union, Coldiretti.

The River Po, Italy’s longest river, is experiencing its worst drought for 70 years, and farmers have reported such a weak flow that seawater is apparently seeping inland and destroying crops.

A state of emergency allows Italian authorities to take immediate action, including the introduction of water rationing for homes and businesses.

In the UK, Brexit has led to a 6 per cent increase in food prices, according to a study by the LSE Centre for Economic Performance.

Greater trade barriers on EU imports have had a “clear and robust” impact on food prices, it stated, with prices rising most sharply on products for which the UK relies heavily on EU imports, such as tomatoes.