Fruit and grain yields drop –

Fruit and grain yields drop -

The warnings raised by activists in Glasgow and the targets set by COP26 are late. No need to listen to the great personalities marching in a Scottish town, it was enough to read the balance of the agricultural year of the Confagricolatura yesterday. The association’s director, Ercole Zucaro, frankly says, “It was a year that was greatly affected by the climate, farmers must prepare themselves to deal with it.” In short, the day of San Martino, which traditionally commemorated the renewal of land rents at the end of sowing, this year sounds a climate alarm not only for farmers, but for the entire agri-food chain. The crazy weather has actually caused a drop in yields in double-digit fields. Winter 2020-21 was the warmest compared to the previous, with the average temperature rising by 1.8 degrees and – oddly enough – the coldest day 10 days after the hottest. February recorded 40% less rainfall, while spring was the coldest in recent years, dropping to an average minimum of -3.9 degrees. Late frosts had a negative impact on agricultural crops, especially those orchards whose trees grow early in February and the unusual heat between March and April. Summer rainfall for 1971–2000 was below average, but July and August saw strong thunderstorms and hailstorms that completely damaged crops.

a Piedmont split in half

Piedmont is divided in half: the north receives below normal rainfall, the south receives less than normal rainfall. Suffice it to say that the Biella region has received 620 mm of rain since the beginning of summer, with only 131 mm recorded in Cuneo, which is equivalent to about a third of the normal rainfall. Similarly, the rainfall level in Vercelli was 283 mm, while in Alexandria only 134 mm. “We had a mild winter, a rainy spring with fluctuating temperatures and late frosts. The scorching heat created a drought particularly in southern Piedmont that affected production », summarises Zucaro again. Ergo, corn – despite the huge cost to irrigate – suffered a 30-40% drop in production, with soft wheat instead of 10%. “Grains have grown by 50% year on year, i.e., they have recovered ten years of firm prices, then discharged on animal husbandry with an increase in diesel fuel”, again argues the general manager. Bizarre spring frosts have decimated the fruit: Compared to the past five years, apples have recorded a 12% drop in production, pears by 70%, plums 32%, kiwis 30%, apricots 35%, peaches A drop of 50 has been recorded. % and cherry 20%. Territorial pride like hazelnuts is very bad, affected not only by climate imbalance but also by the Asian bug. Result: Around 200-250 thousand quintals, 50-55% of crops fell. « The situation is complex for all components of the agro-food chain. For this reason – invites Confagricoltura National President Massimiliano Giansanti – we invite representatives of the processing and distribution industries to sit around a table to discuss how to manage this difficult transition and to ask the government measures of common interest can be assessed.

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Fewer companies and fewer youth

The Confagricolatura near San Martino also summarizes those who work in fields and require reflection for photography: the number of agricultural enterprises continues to decline and has fallen from 70,780 in 2005 to 40,152 this year. Despite the reduction in the number of companies, the percentage of young farmers has remained largely constant: owners of companies under the age of 41 were 14% in 2010, compared to 13.6% this year. “It will take a thousand more a year, but at the moment it is not. This means that the primary sector needs a strong generational business – says Zucaro – to be able to meet new challenges in terms of competition and internationalization. For “.

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November 9, 2021 | 20:42

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