The worst flooding seen for over a century in central Italy choked the roots of fruit trees across Emilia Romagna, causing a major disaster for the region’s fresh produce business. As many as 40 million fruit trees in the region will require pulling up and replanting, according to farmers’ union Coldiretti. 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.
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. Affected fruits include peaches, nectarines, kiwifruit, pears, plums, apples, persimmons and cherries. Thousands of hectares of vegetables were also damaged, including potatoes, tomatoes, asparagus, courgettes and onions.