Two-thirds of Italian farmland affected by prolonged drought
Almost two-thirds of Italian farmland has been affected by a prolonged drought that has cost the agriculture industry around €2 billion, farmers association Coldiretti has warned.
The BBC reported the group had said olive, tomato and wine grape growers are among the most affected.
A state of emergency was earlier declared in two northern provinces, and the capital Rome is facing eight hours a day without running water after a halt was ordered on pumping water from a nearby lake.
Coldiretti warned that 60% of farmland is threatened by the drought caused by low levels of rainfall and made worse by a heatwave, according to the BBC.
At least 10 Italian regions are reportedly preparing requests to the agriculture ministry for a state of natural calamity to be declared because of the drought.
The Ministry of Agriculture announced on Friday it was opening up emergency funds of around €700 million to strengthen and boost the efficiency of the country's irrigation systems.
Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina said the Senate had activated the National Solidarity Fund to support growers, adding it had also requested additional financial support from the European Union (EU).
"This is a necessary action in the medium-term," he said, adding the effects of climate change were becoming increasing apparent in Italian agriculture.