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Italy’s Crop Damage From Drought Seen Close to 1 Billion Euros

Italian farmers have suffered close to 1 billion euros ($1.23 billion) in crop damage from drought, with losses in corn, wine grapes and sugar beets, farm-industry organization Confagricoltura reported.

Corn losses range from 30 percent to complete destruction for non-irrigated fields, while the damage in soybeans and sugar beets is about 50 percent, the Rome-based agriculture group wrote in a statement dated Aug. 9.

Italy is Europe’s third-largest corn grower behind France and Romania, and the region’s largest importer of wheat. Confagricoltura didn’t give precise estimates for crop losses caused by the heat wave and lack of rain.

“The losses are enormous and not adequately covered by insurance,” Mario Guidi, the president of Confagricoltura, was cited as saying in the statement.

The drought has also caused “considerable” losses in quality and quantity of fodder, sunflowers, tomatoes, summer fruits, grapes and olives, the group wrote. Some areas face a “concerning” year for mushrooms and chestnuts, it said.

Italy’s wine harvest has started, and production is forecast to fall 10 percent below the five-year average because of heat and drought, farm union Coldiretti said in an e-mailed statement on Aug. 8.

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