Climate Challenges Threaten Puglia Farms: 30% Loss Forecast in a Decade

In the face of adverse weather conditions over the past decade, Italy province Puglia’s agricultural sector is reeling as approximately 30% of farms face extinction within the next ten years. The region has already lost 200 million quintals of food due to catastrophic events in the last five years alone. A call for increased innovative investment and the integration of digital agricultural tools has been sounded to safeguard both agricultural products and corporate incomes.

Coldiretti Puglia, drawing from the 7th Agricultural Census and preliminary economic estimates by Istat, emphasizes that amidst the onslaught of high production costs, erratic weather patterns, and fierce competition, the agriculture industry is grappling with challenges. The conflict in Ukraine has compounded the situation, leading to escalated energy prices that have further burdened farm budgets and consumers alike.

From 2010 to 2020, Puglia saw its number of farms dwindle from 271,754 to 191,430, though it retains its status as Italy’s most agriculturally active region, with 1.3 million hectares under cultivation. Despite the crisis of 2022, which witnessed the closure of several farms, the region maintained a positive balance of 546 new farms (0.7%). However, rising product prices, including substantial leaps in fertilizers (63.4%), energy products (49.7%), and animal feed (25.1%), have taken a toll.

Coldiretti Puglia emphasizes the need for an innovative approach to tackle this mounting climatic crisis. The organization advocates for the adoption of Agriculture 4.0 solutions, which entail tools such as weather monitoring stations linked to satellites for real-time soil moisture and water distribution assessments. State-of-the-art systems can target the precise delivery of fertilizers based on climatic conditions, significantly enhancing yield. Precision farming equipment also accelerates processes and safeguards crops during emergencies.

The upcoming National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Pnrr) holds hope for Puglia’s agricultural future. Coldiretti has submitted supply chain proposals encompassing pasta, meat, milk, oil, fruit, and vegetables. These projects aim to thwart price speculation and instate a fairer distribution of value throughout the supply chain, benefiting both consumers and farmers against unfair practices.

As Puglia grapples with an increasingly formidable climatic scenario, the integration of cutting-edge solutions emerges as a pivotal strategy to ensure the region’s agricultural resilience and sustainability.

Source: Italy 24

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