ROME - Soaring temperatures and a lack of rainfall across Italy have cost farmers 1 billion euros ($1.12 billion) so far this year, the national agricultural association said on Friday.
The government declared a state of emergency in the gastronomic heartland around the northern cities of Parma and Piacenza, a usually lush valley that produces tomatoes, cheese, and high-quality ham.
Wine grapes growing near Venice will be harvested early, mozzarella makers near Naples have been thrown into crisis, and Sardinian shepherds have taken tractors onto main roads to call for help to save their livelihoods, the Coldiretti group said.
The group's chairman, Roberto Moncalvo, said the climate was becoming "tropical."
"If we want to maintain high quality in agriculture we need to organize ourselves to collect water during rainy periods, doing structural work that cannot be put off any longer," Moncalvo said.
($1 = 0.8935 euros)